Monday 20 November 2017

Man to collect award in honour of IRA-murdered soldier father

ANGER: David Kelly confronts Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
ANGER: David Kelly confronts Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness

DON LAVERY

A man who confronted and embarrassed former IRA leader Martin McGuinness during a presidential walkabout last October over who murdered his soldier father is to collect a citation in his father's honour tomorrow.

David Kelly's dad, Pvt Patrick Kelly, 35, along with Garda Gary Sheehan, were murdered by an IRA gang during a search for kidnapped supermarket executive Don Tidey in November 1983.

No one has ever been convicted of the murders. During the chaotic scenes following gunfire and grenades from the IRA gang in Derrada Wood, outside Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, Don Tidey was able to make his escape.

What followed was one of the biggest manhunts in the State's history when thousands of soldiers and gardai searched in sub-zero temperatures in vain for the gang.

Tomorrow, David, Pvt Kelly's eldest son, will accept a framed citation from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter of a posthumous award of the Military Star medal for his action that day.

Mr Shatter will also lay a wreath in the soldier's memory.

David made world headlines when he confronted Sinn Fein presidential candidate McGuinness during a walkabout in Athlone, Co Westmeath, when he called on the former IRA gunman to name those responsible for his father's death.

"I want justice for my father. I believe you know the names of the killers of my father and I want you to tell me who they are," he urged.

The Sinn Fein candidate denied he knew the names of the IRA men involved and said he was not a member of the IRA army council when it happened.

One of David Kelly's brothers, Corporal Andrew Kelly, a serving Army soldier, will be presented with the medal on behalf of the family.

The award had previously been confined to someone who had been a victim of hostile action overseas.

Sunday Independent

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