Sunday 25 June 2017

Son of Irish Private killed by IRA angry Martin McGuinness called 'soldier of Ireland' on headstone: 'It's an insult to my father'

David Kelly confronts Martin McGuinness in Athlone some years ago about the murder of his father Pte Patrick Kelly in 1983
David Kelly confronts Martin McGuinness in Athlone some years ago about the murder of his father Pte Patrick Kelly in 1983
Funeral of Martin McGuinness - Gerry Mooney

Kathy Armstrong

THE son of a man murdered by the IRA is furious that Martin McGuinness has been referred to as a "soldier of Ireland" on his headstone.

The former IRA Chief of Staff passed away on March 21 after a short illness and his headstone was unveiled on Easter Sunday in Derry.

Huge crowds line the route of the funeral cortege. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Huge crowds line the route of the funeral cortege. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Martin McGuinness Picture: Damien Eagers

The start of the inscription on the headstone reads: "In Proud and Loving Memory of Óglach Martin McGuinness, Óglaigh na hÉireann", which translates as 'soldier of Ireland' and is the official name for the Irish Army. But the IRA have called also called themselves Oglaigh na hEireann for years.

David Kelly, the son of Patrick Kelly - a Private in the Irish Army who was killed by the IRA alongside Garda Gary Sheehan in Leitrim in December 1983 - has hit out at the tribute.

Private Kelly and Garda Sheehan were among a group sent to try and rescue kidnapped businessman Don Tidey from the Provisional IRA in Derrada Woods when they were fatally shot.

Mr Kelly said he is sure McGuinness was directly still involved in the IRA when his father was killed.

Speaking on Liveline on RTÉ Radio One, he said: "Yes, I do, I asked him that question before the presidential election in 2011.

"I asked him for information about my father's murder, given that he wanted to be the President of Ireland and his exact words to me were, 'This is in the past'.

"He said this while looking at a photo of my father in his Irish Army uniform, with the gold badge, the true Irish Army and then he was basically telling me to move on and get with the picture."

Read More: Trojan horse of republicanism can't hide truth about Troubles

Funeral of Martin McGuinness - Gerry Mooney
Funeral of Martin McGuinness - Gerry Mooney

He also said that he thinks it's wrong for the IRA to call themselves soldiers of Ireland.

He said: "Emphasising that he was a member of the IRA and they represented the whole island of Ireland and the Irish people but the only thing is they had no mandate from the Irish people when they carried out all those killings, bombings and atrocities in Northern Ireland and in the South and then in Britain.

"They'd no authority from the Irish people yet they claimed to be acting on our behalf.

"To that extent that was his claim, that he was a true soldier of the Irish Republic, at the time they didn't recognise the authority of the state and their constitution was a green book, which says members of the 26 counties security forces are not much different to the British Army.

"It's very difficult, it's an insult to my father and don't forget to this day people are still protecting my father's killer, 34 years later."

Read More: 'Our hearts are broken' - Family of Martin McGuinness release 'thank you' statement

Mr Kelly also made some shocking allegations about the day his dad died.

Mr Kelly said: "Not many people know this but my father was riddled with bullets from his ankles all the way to his neck, I learned years later that the bullets missed vital points in his head and his heart so he didn't die straight away, he survived for about twenty minutes.

"I know this because his colleagues in the Irish Army told me...

"Gary Sheehan died immediately and my father died slowly over 15 to 20 minutes, his colleagues could hear him moaning as he slowly bled to death as they couldn't get to his position...

"The man who was standing directly next to my father when he was machine gunned to death is amazed he didn't receive a single bullet but said a stun grenade was also thrown and he went down on his knees.

"When he got back up there was  a machine gun pointing in his face and he said the soldier's exact words were, 'Drop your weapon you Free state ba**ard or you'll get the exact same as him.'"

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