Ex-Irish government official in Libyan hotel during PM’s kidnap

Ivan Dohery was visiting Libyan capital as part of his work with US institute

Thu, Oct 10, 2013, 19:22

A former Irish government official and Fine Gael general secretary was staying in the same heavily guarded Tripoli hotel where Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan was seized by armed men at dawn today.

Ivan Doherty is in the Libyan capital for a short visit as part of his work with the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) which works with societies in transition, advising on the building of political institutions.

Mr Doherty was asleep in the Corinthia, a central Tripoli hotel favoured by Libyan government officials, foreign diplomats and business people, when Mr Zeidan was taken from his room by gunmen from a state-aligned group that had been hired by the government to provide security in the city.

He only learned that the prime minister had been seized later that morning. “I didn’t hear or see anything,” Mr Doherty said.

“But there was a noticeable increase in security in the hours that followed.”

Mr Doherty is due to flight out of Libya today as per his original schedule. In his work with NDI, he oversees programmes on political party development in more than 55 countries.