Neville Keery

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Neville Keery (born 5 May 1939 in Dublin, Ireland) is a poet and activist and has had a career as a journalist, administrative officer, Senator, and Senior European Commission Official.

Educated at St. Andrew's College, Dublin, he entered Trinity College Dublin in 1957 to take a four-year honor degree in Philosophy (Mental and Moral Science). He also took a two-year evening course leading to a Diploma in Public Administration. Academically he was a prizewinner and Scholar. He also wrote for the newspaper Trinity News, and became the leading university debater, awarded the gold and silver medals of the College Historical Society, and being the only Irish finalist in the Observer Mace debating competition for British and Irish Universities in 1960.  On graduation in 1961 he became an editorial trainee in the north of England with Westminster Press Provincial Newspapers Limited.

In 1964 Neville Keery returned to Dublin as an Administrative Officer in the Institute of Public Administration. He became an active member of Fianna Fail, Ireland's leading political party led by Taoiseach Sean Lemass, and of the Irish Film Society.  In 1965 he moved to Trinity College to become Assistant Careers and Appointments Officer.  He married Anne Moran (d. 2012) in 1967 and in the same year was promoted Assistant Secretary  of TCD, was conferred with the university's MA degree, and ran unsuccessfully as a Fianna Fáil local election candidate.

Living in the Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown parliamentary constituency, in 1968 he was elected Constituency Delegate to the Fianna Fáil National Executive.  He was appointed a member of the National Savings Committee.  A son, Justin Keery, was born.

Standing unsuccessfully as a 1969[1] General Election candidate for Fianna Fáil, following the election he was nominated to the Senate, Seanad Eireann, by the Taoiseach Jack Lynch, in August 1969.[2] He became an active full-time Senator and took leave of absence from Trinity College. A daughter, Patricia Florence Keery, was born in 1971.

During his Senate term to April 1973, Neville Keery made a notable contribution to international and European affairs.  He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Irish Council of the European Movement, a Council Member of the Institute of Public Administration, a Committee Member of the Irish United Nations Association, and a participant  in a United Nations Regional Seminar (France) and Wilton Park Conferences (UK). He served as a Trustee of the Irish Family Planning Association and of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Ireland.

In 1972 Senator Keery was appointed to Fianna Fáil Headquarters as Research Officer and Secretary to the Into Europe, Article 44 and Votes at 18 Referendum Campaigns. Unsuccessfully contesting the 1973[1] General Election, he was Acting Director of the Irish Council of the European Movement before his recruitment to the European Commission[3] as Principal Administrator A5  and Deputy head and Press Officer of the Commission's Dublin Office. In 1974 he was seconded as Deputy Chef de Cabinet in the Office of Dr. Patrick Hillery, Vice-President of the European Commission, and moved with his family to Brussels. In 1976 Neville and Anne Keery joined Belgium Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

In 1977 Neville Keery returned to his Dublin Commission post.  He became an Extern Examiner for the degree programme in European Studies of the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, to 1981.  He was invited on a personal basis by Fianna Fail leader, Jack Lynch, to contribute to preparations for a likely 1977 General Election.

Following an invitation to join the European Commission's Spokesman's Group, Neville Keery moved with his family on a permanent basis to Brussels in 1982.  He had become a founder member of the Quaker Council for European Affairs in 1978 and went on a short-term secondment (May) as a Cabinet Member in the Office of Commissioner Richard Burke. Following completion of a post-graduate course in economics he was conferred with the degree M.Sc. (Econ.) at TCD in 1981.

While in Brussels from 1982 to his retirement in 2001, Neville Keery had two professional promotions, moving from the Spokesman's Service  to the Directorate-General for Education and Culture, where his final promotion was to head of Division (Libraries) in 1993. Throughout this period he was involved in a wide range of administrative projects, including the creation of the Spokesman's database, RAPID, the production of a film about the Spokesman's Service, the organisation of an Assises Europennes de la Presse (Luxembourg 1991), and the development of EUROLIB, the group of EU institution libraries.[4]

Outside his professional commitments, and facilitated later by his retirement, Neville Keery developed his interests in film, painting and poetry.  His short film on the Irish painter Pat Harris was shown at the UNESCO International Festival of Art Films in 1990 and he was conferred  with an MA degree in Film Studies by University College Dublin in 2004.  Three collections of poetry have been published by Hinds Publishing, Turnings (1999), Home (2008), Memoir (2017).

Neville Keery's papers are archived in the Boole Library of University College Cork and are currently being catalogued.[5] As an activist, Neville Keery's current interests focus on housing, the work of Basic Income Ireland, the Irish Institute of International and European Affairs, European Movement Ireland, the Michael Sweetman Educational Trust, and the partnership in Monkstown, Co. Dublin, between the Quaker, Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic congregations (MC3).  

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