Twenty nine years after he was killed by the IRA, Private Patrick Kelly will be awarded posthumous military honors at a ceremony next week, when Irish Minister for Justice and Defense Alan Shatter presents the Military Star medal to his son in a special ceremony at Athlone barracks.
Private Kelly, 35, was killed alongside trainee Irish policeman Gary Sheehan during a joint Defence Forces and Garda operation to rescue the kidnapped businessman Don Tidey, who was held captive by the IRA.
Kelly was killed in an ambush on personnel searching for the kidnappers in Ballinamore, County Leitrim in 1983. No one has ever been convicted over his death. Tidey was eventually released unharmed.
According to the Journal, The Military Star is given posthumously to members of the Defence Forces who were 'killed or fatally wounded as a direct result of a hostile action outside the state or overseas.'
However, the Irish government appears to be acting on a recent report that recommended the medal be extended to those who have been killed inside Ireland too.
Last year Private Kelly's eldest son David, who will reportedly accept a framed citation from the Justice Minister as his brother Corporal Andrew Kelly receives the medal, confronted the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness whilst he was on the campaign trail.
Kelly accused the Sinn Fein deputy president of having been a member of the IRA Army Council at the time of his father’s killing. McGuinness denied the allegations and denied knowing the names of those responsible for the killing.
Maze prison escapee Brendan 'Bik' McFarlane was acquitted in the Special Criminal Court in 2008 of falsely imprisoning Tidey during the kidnapping.
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