Paul Keating visits Tynagh

15th September 1991
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The Australian Prime Minister returned to the ancestral home of his great-grandparents

One of the most memorable days in recent Tynagh history was in September 1991.  The occasion was the visit of the then Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Paul Keating to the parish. 

He came because his great-grandparents, Keatings and Larkins, had emigrated to Australia from here in the 1850s.

After a tour of the village,he visited the old catholic church, which has been laisised and is now in private ownership and viewed his great-grandparents' marriage certificate.

At the Old School, he was greeted by the local children who entertained him and presented him with a charcoal drawing of the building where his grandparents went to school.

He laid a wreath at the Keating headstone in Tynagh cemetary, planted a eucaliptus tree in the park and unveiled a specially commissioned limestone monument commorating his visit.

A reception in his honour, hosted by Galway Co. Council, was held in the community centre which was also attended by the Australian Ambassador, Mr Terry Mc Carthy and his wife, all the local politicians and practically every parishioner.

Speeches were made and all too soon Mr Keating and his party departed by helicopter.

The visit was considered to have been an outstanding success and the local organising committee received a hand-written letter of thanks from the P.M.

It is worth noting that Mr Keating was a rather controversial politician. Having served as Minister for Finance he lead a heave against Mr Hawke and gained the top position.  A member of the ruling Labour party, his stated policy was to remove the Queen of England as Head of State in Australia and have the county declared a Rebublic. This would require a Referendum but Labour lost the next election and when the referendum was held the Australian people decided to retain Her Majesty as Head of State.

Mr Keating is no longer in political life and has not since visited the site of his roots but at least one of his children has.

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