The former Dutch industrialist Dr Tiede Herrema was back in Limerick recently, where he donated his collection of papers relating to his kidnapping by the IRA 30 years ago to the local university. What was even more fascinating than how easily Herrema forgave his captors, was kidnapper, Eddie Gallagher, explaining the political thinking behind the whole plot. Worth a read.
In his hare-brained attempt to strike a blow against capitalism – in this case offering the multinational businessman his freedom in exchange for jailed IRA comrades – Gallagher could hardly have imagined the scale of working-class disgust at his actions.
Herrema was seen as a jobs provider and beneficial to the local economy, even though his company would, argues Eamonn McCann plausibly, be leaving Ireland as soon as the tax breaks dried up. So when Ferenka did eventually shut up shop, it wasn’t the Irish Government or the company that got the blame – it was Eddie Gallagher and his friends.
No wonder he sounds so disillusioned in McCann’s revealing interview.