Sunday 19 November 2017

Soldier's son demands truth from McGuinness

David Kelly confronts Martin McGuinness in Athlone yesterday about the murder of his father Pte Patrick Kelly in 1983
David Kelly confronts Martin McGuinness in Athlone yesterday about the murder of his father Pte Patrick Kelly in 1983
Pte Patrick Kelly
Gay Mitchell looks on as a turf cutter makes his point to Enda Kenny in Tuam, Co Galway, yesterday
Cystic Fibrosis advocate Caroline Heffernan presents Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Presidential candidate Gay Mitchell with a copy of a charity nude calendar in aid of the western branch of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland
Sean Gallagher with wife Trish O'Connor (in red) on the campaign trail in Killarney yesterday

Breda Heffernan and Eoghan McConnell

THE son of an Irish soldier murdered by the IRA yesterday confronted Sinn Fein presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness and demanded that he name those responsible.

David Kelly was just nine years old when his father, Private Patrick Kelly, was shot dead in a gun battle with the kidnappers of supermarket boss Don Tidey in Derrada Wood, Co Leitrim, in December 1983.

No one has ever been convicted of the murder of Pte Kelly (35) and recruit Garda Gary Sheehan (23).

Yesterday Mr Kelly, holding a framed photograph of his dead father, confronted Mr McGuinness while the Sinn Fein candidate was canvassing in a shopping centre in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

He branded Mr McGuinness a "liar" after the former IRA commander denied knowing who was responsible for the double-murder.

"He was loyal to this Irish Republic and I'm loyal to him as a son and I'm going to get justice for him," said Mr Kelly.

"I want you to get your comrades who committed this crime to hand themselves in to gardai," he told Mr McGuinness.

However, the Derry politician said he did not know the names of those who carried out the killings and rejected the claim that he was a member of the IRA Army Council at the time.

"I don't know who was responsible for the killing of your father, but I fully and absolutely sympathise with you.

"This is in the past. You are heartbroken on account of it and my sympathy is 100pc with you and your family," he added.

Pte Kelly, from Moate, Co Westmeath, was part of a large group of soldiers and gardai searching the Co Leitrim countryside at Ballinamore for Mr Tidey who had been kidnapped by the provisional IRA some three weeks earlier.

He had served on three tours of the Lebanon and was the father of four young sons, the youngest of whom was just 11 weeks old.

Yesterday, Mr Kelly said Mr McGuinness's assertion that he left the IRA in 1974 was a "blatant lie" and said he was "trying to fool the Irish people".

"Before we can have reconciliation...there has to be truth, especially for people running for the presidency of the country," he added.

Irish Independent

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