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Kidnap victim caught fleas in IRA captivity

Dr Tiede Herrema spent 36 days in IRA captivity after being kidnapped close to his Limerick home

A DUTCH industrialist kidnapped in Limerick 40 years ago has revealed that he caught fleas while in IRA captivity.

Tiede Herrema was the managing director of the Ferenka factory when he was confronted by a republican gang near his Limerick home on October 3, 1975.

Now aged 94, Dr Herrema and his wife Elisabeth, who live in Arnhem, will attend a reception on Thursday along with the Republic’s foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan and former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave.

The couple told RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke on Wednesday that they remained a strong relationship with retired Garda Chief Superintendent Larry Wren, who negotiated with the kidnappers, and former Garda spokesman Superintendent Tom Kelly, who was frequently seen on Irish and Dutch television during the final siege.

Dr Herrema recalled how he had been stopped by a bogus Garda on the morning of the kidnapping.

“He was very aggressive. I was put in the boot of the car and they drove off. We drove for hours,” he said.

When asked if the kidnappers had given him access to a radio or newspapers, Dr Herrema responded: “No, nothing. Fleas. There were a lot of fleas in the bed.”

The great grandfather also revealed that he kept himself occupied during his 36-day ordeal by playing chess alone.

Kidnappers Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle eventually gave themselves up on November 7 following a 19-day siege at 1410 St Evin's Park in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

After Gallagher and Coyle received prison sentences of 20 years and 15 years respectively, their victim pleaded for leniency on account of their relative youth.

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