‘Unbearable sadness’ at sudden death of Irish Cultural Centre manager

‘Unbearable sadness’ at sudden death of Irish Cultural Centre manager

TRIBUTES have been paid following the sudden death of David O’Keeffe, the General Manager of the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.

Mr O’Keeffe, who hailed from Dublin, passed away at home on Saturday, November 16.

His death was confirmed by his colleagues at the Irish Cultural Centre (ICC) in Hammersmith, where he was a popular member of the team, which he joined in 2018.

In a statement, the ICC said: “It is with unbearable sadness that we have to tell you of the sudden death of our wonderful David on Saturday last.
“For those of you who have known him in the past 18 months, you will have regularly enjoyed his warmth, humour, kindness and overwhelming professionalism and commitment to ICC.”

Mr O’Keeffe was a Communications graduate from Dublin City University who had a successful career in British TV, working as series editor for Kilroy, (Piers) Morgan & Platell, the David Frost Show among others.

He later left TV to train as an acupuncturist, gaining a first in his year and going on to be a skilful, caring and talented practitioner in Chiswick.

He also held a senior role in Youth Music – a charity dedicated to helping children and young people to develop personally and socially through music – no matter what social background or experience.

Mr O’Keeffe was also hugely committed to human rights, in particular those of the LGBT community, and a long-standing committed supporter of the Palestinian cause while also raising many thousands of pounds for the relief of Syrian children through hosting garden parties in his former home in Twickenham.

Of his ICC role, his colleagues explained: “Giving something back to Ireland was his focus and when he moved to ICC in June 2018, it allowed him to blend his creative, caring and musical/theatrical expertise into the role which he made his own. ICC now has the most extensive and diverse single programme of cultural events outside of Ireland.

“From the revamped foyer which was his pet project this year, to the new art gallery and rehearsal venue, his imprint was light but thoughtful and forward looking.

“As well as supporting the existing membership, he was keen to expand and bring more of the recent successful Irish Diaspora to ICC to appreciate the fantastic range of events and learning activities – as well as the craic we all enjoyed at the bar on many a night.”

They added: “Remembering David, it was his sense of fun and of the ridiculous; his warmth and his kindness that made him such an engaging and wonderful person.

“He was proud to be Irish and gay and was very much loved by a wide circle of friends, as well as being deeply cherished by his family.”