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Death of Jack Keogh

 Damian Mac Con Uladh

Old IRA Officer Dead In Field

THAT he died from strychnine poisoning through accidentally drinking the intents of a bottle of "Kilcro" a chemical preparation for killing of crows was the verdict of a coroner's jury at Ballinasloe on the body of Jack Keogh, Derrymullen, Ballinasloe, whose body was found in a field near the town on Sunday evening last [6 May 1945].

Keogh was a commandant in the Old IRA and a prominent figure in East Galway during the fight for freedom. He had many hairbreadth escapes from death during the Civil War and was on the run for a period before he served a term of imprisonment. Escaping from prison, he got to the USA. He returned to Ballinasloe some few years ago.

Dr. M. B. Farrell, Ballinasloe, giving evidence before Dr. Sexton, Coroner, and a jury, expressed the opinlon that death ocurred between twelve and eighteen hours before the body was found. A bottle lablelled "Kilcro" lay beside the body. It contained about half a teaspoonful of the liquid. He found signs suggestive of death from strychnine poisoning.

"Kilcro" contained 32 grains of strychnine, a half grain of which was deadly. A full bottle would kill about sixty people.

Patrick McDonnell, Derrymullen, by whom Keogh had been employed, said that Keogh had been a good workman.

Dermot J. Duane, chemist, Ballinasloe, said that he sold a bottle of "Kilcro" to Keogh on the previous Saturday. At the time he saw nothing unusual about Keogh and there was nothing to sugest that Keogh had a lot of drink taken.

Charles O'Sullivan, Cleaghmore, said that Keogh had signs of drink when he visited the British Legion Club at about 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Kiernan Donnellan, who found the body, also gave evidence.

The Coronor, Mr. Lawlor, foreman of the jury, and Supt. O'Halloran expressed sympathy with the relatives.

Source: East Galway Democrat, Saturday, 12 May 1945.

Note: The Tuam News of 19 May carried an almost identical report, but specified that that Keogh had been "former Commandant of the 2nd Western Division, IRA".

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