Monday 23 April 2018

Border Fox's kidnap victim John O'Grady dies

Dr John O’Grady
Dr John O’Grady
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

Tributes have been paid following the death of Dublin dentist John O'Grady, who was subjected to a vicious kidnapping ordeal at the hands of ex-IRA man Dessie O'Hare in 1987.

It is believed Dr O'Grady had been ill for some time and passed away yesterday afternoon in the Blackrock Clinic.

Ex-IRA man Dessie O’Hare
Ex-IRA man Dessie O’Hare

"He was such a lovely, decent and generous man. He had a wide circle of family and friends who loved him very much," one friend said. Funeral arrangements are to be announced.

Dr O'Grady, who had his dental surgery in Ballsbridge, was kidnapped from his home in Cabinteely on October 13, 1987, by O'Hare, also known as the 'Border Fox'.

He was held captive for 23 days before his release. O'Hare was subsequently sentenced to 40 years imprisonment. He served 16 years of his sentence before his release in 1999.

Father-of-three Dr O'Grady was reunited with his family on November 5 - some 23 days after his ordeal began. During his time in captivity, O'Hare chopped the tips off two of Dr O'Grady's fingers. Despite his injuries, Dr O'Grady was able to resume his career at his surgery in Ballsbridge and went about his business as usual.

O'Hare and his gang pleaded guilty to the kidnapping - meaning the dentist did not have to relive his ordeal during the trial.

Dr O'Grady was not the intended victim of the gang who had mistaken his home for that of his father-in-law, the high-profile millionaire medical entrepreneur Dr Austin Darragh.

The gang demanded a ransom of IR£1.5m. Despite the frequent reports of Dr Darragh's financial success, even he was unable to raise the amount of cash, which would be equivalent to over €20m now.

He was finally freed by gardaí during a bloody shoot-out in the suburb of Cabra during which one officer was shot and seriously wounded.

Dr O'Grady also received a gunshot wound to his hand during the shoot-out.

O'Hare had already left the house by the time gardaí arrived but was tracked to Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, where he was shot and injured by an Army sniper. His associate Martin Bryan was killed.

O'Hare was sentenced to a minimum 40 years of imprisonment. However, he was granted 'political' status in prison and sought early release under the 1999 amnesty.

Dr O'Grady never spoke publicly about his ordeal.

He was scheduled to address a conference at the Dublin County Stress Clinic in October 2000 but pulled out at the last minute after he was informed of possible legal consequences arising from O'Hare's High Court action for early release under the amnesty.

O'Hare was finally released by order of the High Court in April 2006. O'Hare never apologised for his actions in torturing and mutilating Dr O'Grady.

Irish Independent

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