Larry Kane's ex-wife: He cracked up in the Lebanon
THE ex-wife of the man known as 'The Bomber' told how he got involved with the IRA after coming home "troubled" from the Lebanon.
Theresa Fennell told how her then husband Larry Kane had been only too delighted to go out as a peacekeeper with the Defence Forces but it was on his return that all their difficulties began.
"He went out to the Lebanon in 1979 and after that he just got himself in trouble with the IRA. He did not come back the same from the Lebanon. He never smoked in his life, but was smoking out there and was smoking when he came back," she said.
"He just cracked up when he was out there."
Kane had served with the army from 1974 to 1980, and had served only one stint abroad peacekeeping in the Lebanon.
However, he had driven armoured cars, tanks and jeeps and had suffered post traumatic stress disorder after an incident while there. Ms Fennell said he had never spoken about it.
They split in 1980 and she went on to raise their two young children Lawrence and Annette. Keane also has four other children.
In recent years, they had little contact but he had been living only a few doors away from her at her son Lawrence's home in Castlepark in Athy since Christmas.
She said they had never spoken about his jailing for his dissident republican activities, after he was jailed for driving a car with a bomb on board.
However, she told how his health had deteriorated in recent years, and after a serious car accident had walked with the aid of a stick. "After the car accident he went into hospital and nearly died. They left a chain in his stomach," she explained.
Her husband, along with several people from the town, travelled to all the IRA funerals.
"I don't know how he got mixed up with the crowd he was with," she said.
Yet, even having served a lengthy spell in the high security Portlaoise prison, he was still viewed by many in the town as a harmless sort.
Friends and neighbours all agreed the once imposing IRA man had been frail in recent years, and would not have been able to fight off any attacker.
"That's Larry's spot," said a young boy, pointing at the bridge in the town.
Anne Flood, whose furnishing shop overlooked the spot where Keane sat at the foot of the Barrow Bridge, said: "He was harmless, harmless, harmless."
"He'd never fail to be there at the bridge where the flowers are. He would be standing there or sitting there at the bridge just watching people going up and down."
Maureen Byrne, whose home was close to the scene of the attack, told how Keane was taking the shortcut back from the bridge over the Barrow to his son's home in Castlepark. "It is a terrible shock," she said.