Son of Irish soldier killed by IRA gives testimony to MPs

David Kelly, son of Irish army Private Patrick Kelly, tells MPs in Westminster how the IRA murdered his father in 1983
David Kelly, son of Irish army Private Patrick Kelly, tells MPs in Westminster how the IRA murdered his father in 1983

The son of a member of the Irish Defence Forces who was murdered by the IRA has told of the “wonderful” experience of giving his testimony to MPs at Westminster.

David Kelly told MPs, peers and policy makers in Westminster that he wanted to press for justice for his father.

Private Patrick Kelly was one of two people shot dead in Co Leitrim by the IRA after it kidnapped supermarket executive Don Tidey in 1983.

His son David told MPs how his father’s murder impacted on him, coming as it did when he was only nine.

“My mother was a very introverted person and was completely overwhelmed by my father’s murder,” he said.

Three years later the family moved to London with a man who promised to look after them. David was uprooted from his school friends, wider family circle and his home, near Athlone. However, it turned out they went to live in a squat and soon became homeless.

“Our knight in shining armour then became very violent and went on to have a hold on us throughout our teenage years.”

David lived in London for 20 years, only moving back to the Republic of Ireland in 2008, aged 34.

In 2011 he confronted Martin McGuinness about his father’s murder, during the Sinn Fein MLA’s campaign to become Irish president. Mr McGuinness declined to condemn his father’s killing.

Mr Kelly was speaking at the Churchhill room in Westminster as part of the launch of a book and DVD from the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) titled ‘Terrorism knows no borders’. Both feature his story and that of other terror victims from across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Also unveiled was a quilt of remembrance for victims which featured a square dedicated to David’s father.

SEFF director of services Kenny Donaldson said the trip to London last week took 75 members of his group to raise the profile of their cause with MPs, peers and decision makers.

SEFF told senior officials in the Foreign Office that the Government could no longer leave IRA victims to fight alone for compensation from Libya when Col Gaddafi’s motive in supplying weapons to the IRA was an act of “state-on-state engagement”.

He said the group also had a very positive meeting with the MoD on the subject of reinstating UDR pensions for widows who remarried between 1973-2005, a similar concession having been previously made for RUC widows.