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Dutch industrialist kidnapped by IRA in 1975 dies at age of 99, just a week after wife's passing


Dr Herrema with his wife Elisabeth

Dr Herrema with his wife Elisabeth

The Co Kildare house in which Dr Tiede Herrema was held hostage in 1975

The Co Kildare house in which Dr Tiede Herrema was held hostage in 1975

Dr Tiede Herrema

Dr Tiede Herrema

Dr Herrema with his wife Elisabeth

The Irish President has led tributes following the death of Dutch industrialist Tiede Herrema, who was kidnapped by the IRA in the 1970s.

Dr Herrema, who was 99, passed away on April 24, just a week after his wife Elisabeth.

Michael D Higgins said the pair, who later accepted Irish citizenship, had a very strong bond with the country.

On October 3, 1975, Dr Herrema was kidnapped by IRA members Eddie Gallagher and Marian Coyle and held for ransom for 36 days.

The crime made international headlines.

The Garda learned of their location and for 18 days there was a siege that also involved the Irish Defence Forces at a house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

It came to an end when he was released unharmed on November 7 after the IRA members threw their guns out of one of the windows.

Both Dr and Mrs Herrema were made honorary citizens after the kidnapping.

Joe Brennan, who was deputy to the Irish ambassador at The Hague at the time and was a good friend of the family, paid tribute yesterday.

He said: "I had a very long and happy friendship with them.

"I was very lucky to have known them and admired them both."

The couple had been married for 72 years.

"They both had the greatest dignity and courage," added Mr Brennan.

Dr Herrema's funeral will take place tomorrow in Arnhem.

Mr Higgins paid tribute to the couple, who had made several trips to Ireland and Aras an Uachtarain during their lives.

"It is with deep sadness that I have learned of the death of Dr Tiede Herrema, so soon after the death of his beloved wife Elisabeth," the President said.

"I had the privilege of meeting Tiede and Elisabeth on many occasions, including at Aras an Uachtarain during their regular trips to Ireland." He said that Dr Herrema had endured a "traumatic" kidnapping but held no grudges towards his captors.

"Dr Herrema, who had endured such a traumatic kidnapping, harboured no bitterness towards his abductors and had maintained a very strong bond with Ireland.

"Both he and Elisabeth accepted honorary Irish citizenship.

"They will be missed, and fondly remembered by their many friends in Ireland. Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to their four sons, wider family and friends."

Kevin Kelly, Ireland's ambassador to the Netherlands, said on Twitter: "We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of our dear friend and fellow citizen Dr Tiede Herrema. And so soon after the passing of his beloved Elisabeth.

"Tiede and Elisabeth showed through words and deeds what true humanity and forgiveness look like." The Netherlands' embassy in Ireland tweeted: "Echoing the sentiments expressed by President Higgins on the sad passing of Dr Tiede Herrema, so soon after his wife's death.

"Sincere sympathies to the family and friends and hoping they find some solace in their resting place together."

Belfast Telegraph