Dunne kidnapping landmark in high-profile abductions


In October 1981 Mr Ben Dunne, then of Dunnes Stores, was abducted from his car, just north of the Border, while driving on the main Dublin-Belfast road to Newry on business.

Also kidnapped in the last 20 years were supermarket executive Mr Don Tidey, Dublin dentist Mr John O'Grady, bank executive's wife Mrs Jennifer Guinness, and National Irish Bank head Mr Jim Lacey.

Mr Dunne was pulled from his car by armed men when he stopped to give assistance at a faked accident. He was released a week later.

While gardai and sources close to the Dunne family insisted no ransom had been paid prior to his release, reports at the time claimed £300,000 was paid after his release, probably outside the jurisdiction.

Mr Tidey, of Associated British Foods (ABF), the parent company of Quinnsworth, was kidnapped on November 4th, 1983.

He was stopped at what appeared to be a Garda checkpoint near his home in Rathfarnham, Dublin. A man put a gun to his head and bundled him into a car. On December 16th, after 23 days in captivity, Mr Tidey was rescued in a joint Army-Garda operation in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim. He was found in a dugout in a wooded area with four armed men. Trainee Garda Gary Sheehan (23), of Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, and Pte Patrick Kelly (35), of Moate, Co Westmeath, were killed in the shoot-out.

Mrs Guinness was abducted from her home in Howth, Co Dublin, by three armed men in April 1996. She was the wife of the chairman of the Guinness Mahon merchant bank. A "seven-figure sum" was demanded for her release.

Five days later, gardai surrounded a house in Waterloo Road, Dublin, and after a brief exchange of gunfire, the kidnappers surrendered. There were no casualties. i said Mrs Guinness appeared to be in "good health" after her ordeal.

Mr O'Grady, a Dublin dentist, was kidnapped by an armed gang in October 1987. He was abducted by four armed men from his Cabinteely home in south Co Dublin after his wife and three children had been held for 16 hours at gunpoint.

It is understood the men were looking for a £1.5m ransom.

After 23 days, Mr O'Grady was found in Cabra West, Dublin. Shooting broke out and a detective was seriously wounded in the incident, in which Mr O'Grady was freed. Mr O'Grady was shot in the hand and was taken to the Blackrock Clinic for treatment for the wound and the mutilation of two fingers inflicted by the gang earlier in the week.

Mr Lacey, head of National Irish Bank, was kidnapped in in November 1993 from his home in Grove Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin, by a gang led by the criminal Martin Cahill, known as the General.

He was driven to the National Irish Bank at at Andrews Street, Dublin. A sum of £243,000 was taken, but the raider who accompanied Mr Lacey to the bank did not know that there was £7 million or £8 million in cash in the vaults.

If that had been taken it would have been the biggest robbery in the history of the State.

The Lacey family were later found tied up in a house in Blackhorse Avenue, near the Phoenix Park.