Police Capture Alleged Leader Of Kidnap Gang
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ A former IRA activist who allegedly masterminded the kidnapping of a wealthy Dublin dentist was shot and wounded Friday as he crashed through a roadblock, police said.
Dessie O’Hare, nicknamed the ″Border Fox,″ was shot in the arms, legs and chest near Urlingford, 80 miles from Dublin, said a police spokesman, Larry Coady. A traveling companion, Martin Brien, was killed, Coady said.
A soldier was shot in the leg, Coady said.
The two fugitives had burst through a previous police checkpoint seconds earlier.
Police said O’Hare, 29, was seriously wounded but was not in critical condition. The British Broadcasting Corp. reported he had undergone surgery. He was transferred under heavy security from a hospital in Kilkenny to one in Dublin, according to Press Association, the British news agency.
The incident climaxed a lengthy drama that began with the kidnapping of 38- year-old John O’Grady in Dublin. O’Grady, whose kidnappers chopped off the tips of two fingers during his 22 days of captivity, was freed by police after detectives discovered the gang in a house Nov. 5. No ransom was paid.
Police have charged four people in connection with the abduction and they have been scouring the island for O’Hare, who got his nickname from his frequent crossing of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
Police said they were convinced O’Hare masterminded the abduction.
O’Hare is a former member of the Irish Republican Army and its extreme offshoot, the Irish National Liberation Army. Both organizations have disowned him as a liability in their fight to rid Northern Ireland of British rule.
O’Hare had last been sighted near the border with Northern Ireland two weeks ago when he fired seven shotgun blasts at his wife in a crowded pub, grazing her. He fled in a car.
Brien, 28, was a wanted Irish National Liberation Army member from Derry who had been on the run for several years, according to the Irish news agency Ireland International.
Prime Minister Charles Haughey of Ireland said Friday, ″I offer our congratulations and deep gratitude to the individual members of the police and the army on the success of the massive security operation of the last week.″
″I wish the officer who was wounded a speedy recovery. The Irish people owe a great debt of gratitude to those who served them so well and so bravely and who have brought a great sense of relief and reassurance to us all.″
Police said O’Grady’s wealthy father-in-law, Dr. Austin Darragh, had been the intended target of the kidnapping. Several years ago, Darragh sold O’Grady the house where O’Grady was grabbed, police said.