On 24 Nov, 1983, Don Tidey who was the managing director of the Quinnsworth supermarket group was kidnapped by PIRA close to his home in South Co Dublin. A nationwide search was undertaken by An Garda Síochána supported by Óglaigh na hÉireann operating in aid to the civil power. In mid Dec 1983 the search focused in the Ballinamore area of Co Leitrim based on intelligence. Substantial numbers of Garda and DF personnel were deployed in the search operation.
Forty years ago and twenty three days into the kidnapping, on Friday 16 Dec 1983, search parties were operating in Derrada Wood. They were fired on by the terrorists and Pte Patrick Kelly (36), 6 Inf Bn and Recruit Garda Gary Sheehan (23) were shot dead.
Pte Kelly was a native of Ballinamuck, Co Longford and he was living with his family in Moate, Gda Sheehan was fom Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.
Pte Paddy Kelly was the father of four boys, David, Michael, Andrew and Patrick, at the time of his death, they ranged in age from nine years to eleven weeks. He was the first member of Óglaigh na hÉireann to be killed in the state since the Civil War. On 16 July 2012, he was posthumously awarded An Réalt Míleata (the Military Star).
A number of the PIRA terrorists were charged in connection with the killings and kidnapping but no one was convicted.
Today we remember our comrade Pte Patrick Kelly (10 May 1948 – 16 December 1983) and Recruit Garda Gary Sheehan and the suffering of their families and comrades.
RTE published a documentary on the event in 2021 click below;
Ar dheis lámh Dé go raibh siad uile.