Tributes have been paid to Dublin dentist John O’Grady who had two fingers cut off by former south Armagh IRA terrorist Dessie O’Hare.
Mr O’Grady suffered the horrendous ordeal after being kidnapped from his Dublin home by Mr O’Hare in 1987.
The dentist was held prisoner for 23 days before being freed by the Garda, while O’Hare, also known as ‘the Border Fox’, went on the run, becoming ‘Ireland’s most wanted man’.
O’Hare chopped the tips of Dr O’Grady’s little fingers off with a chisel but this did not stop the dentist from later resuming normal life at his surgery in Ballsbridge.
A ransom of IR£1.5m was demanded from his father-in-law, which he was unable to raise.
Dr O’Grady was finally freed by the Garda during a shoot-out in which one officer was seriously wounded and Dr O’Grady was shot in the hand.
O’Hare fled to Kilkenny where he was shot and injured by an Irish army sniper.
He never apologised for his actions and justified them on the basis of “war”. He was sentenced to 40 years of which he served 16 in Portlaoise jail before being released under the Good Friday Agreement.
It is understood Dr O’Grady passed away on Tuesday in the Blackrock Clinic after having been ill for some time. Funeral details are to be announced.
Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United, which has members in the Republic of Ireland, said Dr O’Grady epitomised the resilience of those subjected to the evils of terrorism.
“He was not prepared to allow terrorism to define his life, ultimately he triumphed,” he said.
“How did he do so? By vowing that he would not be deterred from his work and vocation of providing service to the community through the dental practice he was attached to.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the O’Grady family, they have lost someone in Dr John who they can and should feel very proud of.”