“He said I know I’m going into the light” – Former RTÉ journalist Una O’Hagan on the death of her husband Colm Keane


Former RTÉ news anchor Una O’Hagan said she and her late husband Colm Keane have a “wonderful, solidary relationship”.

Orcman Colm Keane, who also worked for RTÉ for many years and is best known for his award-winning documentaries, died in January at the age of 70.

He and Ms O’Hagan met in the RTÉ canteen and his wife said she was struck by his “endless curiosity and enthusiasm”.

Speaking of RTÉ Ryan Tubridy Showshe said Colm Keane’s former boss described him as a “force of nature.”

“And he was. He was infinitely curious about people,” she said.

“He loved letting other people tell their stories and always thought the best pictures were on the radio… He was very curious about everything.”

According to his wife, Colm Keane was a great innovator who says one of his brightest ideas was sending journalist and playwright Nell McCafferty to Italy for the 1990 World Cup to set the stage for radio audiences.

She said they shared a relationship where at the end of the day they would come home and talk endlessly.

“That’s what I miss the most because every now and then I’m like, ‘I have to tell Colm that,'” she said.

“We were together 36 years and over the years I’ve watched people in pairs in pubs and restaurants and they’d sit there and they wouldn’t say a word to each other and I was like, ‘What are they there for?

“Whereas we just never stopped talking.”

Ms O’Hagan said she and Mr Keane had a “great exchange of ideas” although “it wasn’t always easy working with him” because when Colm Keane had an idea he “ran with it”.

“He was immobile, I said, ‘God, it’s very difficult to work with Colm,’ and he said, ‘That’s not what Burt Bacharach said.’

“When Burt Bacharach interviewed him, he signed his CD saying, ‘Great to work with you Colm,’ so this was always a comeback. I could never get around it,” she said.

On Christmas Day 2007, the couple’s 20-year-old son Sean died, two and a half years after he was first diagnosed with cancer.

Ms O’Hagan said Sean “came after his father” and above his gravestone reads “bright shining star” in Latin.

“It was the simple times that we enjoyed. That kind of mundane family life. That was the best time,” she said.

She said her son’s death shook both parents “separately and together.”

“In this situation, when something is so profound, it’s very difficult to get back together and it took a lot of time,” she added.

Ms O’Hagan said since Colm died some people had been apprehensive about asking her how she was doing, but it was the right question, she explained.

She said it gave the bereaved a chance to talk about their loved ones if they wished to and the Irish were good at dealing with death.

“We are open about death and know the ritual of death very well. We’re not hiding from it,” she said.

“I try to give people peace of mind. I have no trouble talking about Colm. I could get a little whiny, which might make people a little uncomfortable, but that’s how it is.”

Mr Keane had done extensive research on near-death experiences throughout his career and Ms O’Hagan said it gave him great comfort before his death, adding: “He said, ‘I know where I’m going. I know I’m going to the light’.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/he-said-i-know-i-am-going-to-the-light-former-rte-journalist-una-ohagan-on-death-of-her-husband-colm-keane-41526636.html “He said I know I’m going into the light” – Former RTÉ journalist Una O’Hagan on the death of her husband Colm Keane

Fry Electronics Team

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