Renowned English historian of Ireland dies at 102

Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, Robert Kee, Oxford, Guildford, pub bombing, IRA, Ireland

Robert Kee, Born: October 5th, 1919 Died: January 11th, 2013 In February 2005 the then British prime minister Tony Blair made a long-awaited public apology to the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven when he met members of the Conlon and Maguire families, victims of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history.

During an emotional meeting Blair signed a copy of Robert Kee’s book, Trial and Error: the Maguires, the Guildford pub bombings and British Justice, belonging to Patrick Maguire (13 when he was arrested) with the inscription “I am sorry it took so long.”

Many people believe it would have taken a lot longer but for the campaigning work of Kee, the British historian and journalist who died on January 11th aged 93.

Kee had a great many connections with Ireland, not least his championing of those wrongly convicted of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings, which claimed five lives. His book about the case was published in 1986 and was regarded as a significant factor in having the convictions overturned in 1989.

Since his death, a great deal has been written about his success in explaining the so-called Troubles to the British, mainly through his landmark 13-part television series Ireland: A Television History, broadcast by the BBC and RTÉ in 1980 and 1981....

Read entire article at Irish Times

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