A lifelong champion for working people

Today our union lost one of our most passionate and dedicated activists, and a longstanding and loyal friend to me. Denis Keatings has been active in our union from its inception, as branch secretary of Mater Hospital Branch and more recently as Joint Regional Convenor for Northern Ireland.

Denis was a lifelong champion for working people, constantly seeking to advance the cause of public service workers, whether within UNISON or across Northern Ireland. He was loved, admired and respected by his fellow members, activists and friends for decades – in UNISON and in NUPE.

In that time, Northern Ireland went through the Troubles and an unprecedented period of change – but throughout Denis was a constant within our union. Always kind, and always decent.

That kindness and decency always drove him to speak out on the causes that mattered most to him, because when he saw injustice, he could not stand by, he knew that to change things we have to act.

We will all miss Denis – especially within Northern Ireland, but also within the wider UNISON family. We will never forget him, or the massive impact he has had on the lives of our members – but we will always be grateful for everything that he gave to our union and our movement.

Our thoughts and our love are all with his partner Elaine and his family.