Robert ‘Rab’ Kerr, who spent three years ‘on the blanket’ in the H-Blocks and took part in the republican prisoners’ escape in 1983, passed away suddenly in hospital on Sunday, May 14.
Mr Kerr spent a total of 18 years in prison between 1977 and 1997, taking part in protests against British criminalisation. During his time in prison, he married fellow political prisoner Jennifer McCann.
Mr Kerr studied Social Sciences with The Open University in 1985 and 1986, as well as completing Technology courses in 1992 and 1993. After his release, he continued his interest in computing and IT, completing further courses while working as a community worker and publishing a number of books, including The Belfast Mural Guide to help visitors navigate the city’s various murals.
The father-of-three had been involved in the Belfast National Graves Association, who said they were saddened to learn of his death. Republican ex-prisoners community Tar Isteach said they were also struggling to come to terms with his sudden loss.
Former hunger striker Laurence McKeown described him as a gentleman, a loving husband, and a devoted father.
Padraic Mac Coitir of Lasair Dhearg said he had been one of the driving forces behind the founding of Cumann na Fuiseoga, a GAA club launched in Twinbrook and inspired by Bobby Sands.
“Rab was a very sincere man and I know it’s said a lot when someone dies but I’ve never heard a bad word said about him. Jennifer and their children will miss greatly a big sound Irish Republican.”
Mr Kerr’s funeral service will take place on Friday May 19, with his remains leaving his home at 6pm for Twinbrook Memorial Garden. A service will follow at Roselawn Crematorium on Wednesday May 24 at 12pm.