Belfast Telegraph

Dentist O'Grady who was held captive by 'Border Fox' laid to rest

By Cate McCurry

Dentist John O'Grady, who survived a vicious kidnapping ordeal by ex-IRA man, Dessie O'Hare, in 1987, has been buried in Sandymount, Co Dublin.

The well-known dentist died on Tuesday after a two-year battle with cancer, and just a month after he walked his daughter Louise down the aisle.

Dr O'Grady (67), who had his dental surgery in Dublin, was kidnapped from his home on October 13, 1987, by O'Hare, also known as the 'Border Fox'.

He was held captive for 23 days before his release and, during this time, O'Hare chopped the tips off two of Dr O'Grady's fingers.

There was only a brief mention of the horrific kidnapping during his funeral on Saturday.

Fr John McDonagh said the "world knew the trauma he suffered, but he never spoke about it and got on with the job and his creative acceptance of life".

The only other link at the funeral mass to the incident was the presence of one of the celebrants, Northern Ireland priest Fr Brian D'Arcy, who acted as an intermediary for his then father-in-law, Dr Austin Darragh, during the kidnap drama.

A reflection written by Dr O'Grady's partner, Rachel Fehily, a barrister and playwright, was read by Fr McDonagh.

"He was an inspirational father figure to my two boys, Harvey and Jack," she said.

"John's illness gave us an opportunity to express how we felt about each other in a different way. Little things that might have annoyed us, like how he loaded the dishwasher, became trivial, as they always should have been," while pleasures such as swimming in the sea together "became very precious".

Dr O'Grady wasn't the intended target of the 1987 kidnapping - it was his millionaire father-in-law, Dr Austin Darragh. The gang of men had his old address and were not aware Dr Darragh had passed on his home to his daughter, Marise, Dr O'Grady and their three young children.

Dr O'Grady never spoke publicly about the events.

He is survived by his partner, Rachel, his children Darragh, Anthony and Louise, and their mother, Marise.

Belfast Telegraph


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