Patrick Kielty's family rejected 'revenge' offer from IRA following father's murder
Co Down comedian Patrick Kielty has told how the IRA offered “revenge” for the murder of his father by loyalist paramilitaries.
Kielty’s father Jack was shot dead by the UFF in 1988 in Dundrum.
The comedian makes the claim in a new BBC 1 documentary set to be broadcast on Wednesday evening.
He said that his family rejected the IRA’s offer “in no uncertain terms.”
In ‘My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me’, Kielty reveals how his uncle was approached by the IRA at the graveyard.
He says an IRA man said to his uncle: “We could properly use a couple of good smart, strong, strapping lads like those Kielty lads if they are interested in revenge.”
Kielty said: “They were told in no uncertain terms where to go. My dad died for nothing - he wasn’t a political figure, he wasn’t taking a stand.
“He had a building firm, he employed both sides. That wouldn’t be considered a stand anywhere else. He was just doing the right thing.”
Three men were convicted over the killing but were freed from prison after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
The documentary sees Kielty explore the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement 20 years on. He reveals he voted in favour of it.
However, he meets DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose police officer father was shot by the IRA but survived.
The former First Minister of Northern Ireland herself survived a bomb attack on her school bus. She told Kielty that she did not vote in favour of the agreement because of prisoner releases.
She said: “How can you allow people who have committed some of the most hideous crimes just walk free as if they had done nothing?”
Kielty tells Mrs Foster that he voted ‘yes’ despite knowing it would lead to release of the men who murdered his father.
“That’s true for you, but for others they want justice,” she replied.
“Sadly, there are some people that still want retribution. That’s why, 20 years later, we’re talking of the legacy of the troubles and struggling with how to deal with it.”
Around 500 prisoners were released under the terms of the agreement. More than half of them from the IRA.
Among the other people the comedian meets in the documentary are former UVF prisoner and PUP politician Billy Hutchinson and the founder of the ‘Children in the Crossfire’ charity, Richard Moore.
Belfast Telegraph Digital