Comedian Patrick Kielty has revealed that the IRA tried to recruit him to carry out a revenge killing after his father had been murdered by loyalist paramilitaries.
Kielty grew up in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles and his father Jack was tragically killed by gunmen in 1988.
He revealed that at the funeral, his uncle was approached by members of the IRA inviting them to join to carry out a revenge mission.
Kielty spoke about the horrific experience as part of a documentary for the BBC, titled ‘My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me’.
The Co Down native opened up about the heart-breaking moment he was told his father had been killed.
He said: “I was in school and I was asked to go to the headmaster’s office. They said, ‘Your dad’s been shot’. I remember saying almost immediately, ‘Is he dead?’, and they said, ‘Yes’.
“Everything about it felt like you were going through it but it wasn’t real. Nothing prepares you for the numbness you feel when you go through it.”
Kielty was just a teenager when he lost his father. He explained that at the funeral his uncle was approached by the IRA.
He said: “At the time of my dad’s death there were thousands of armed paramilitaries and it would have been easy for me to pick up a gun myself.
“My dad’s brother had been approached in the graveyard by the IRA who said to him, ‘We could probably use a couple of good, smart, strong, strapping lads like those Kielty lads if they’re interested in revenge’.”
Kielty added that his family were not interested in taking part in any violent revenge. He said: “They were told in no uncertain terms where to go.”
Kielty has always insisted violence is not the answer, and he voted in favour of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Part of the terms of the Agreement saw over 500 prisoners were released, including the three men convicted in connection with the murder of Kielty’s father.
The comedian said: “I can’t forgive them for what they did. But whether or not these people are in jail, it isn’t going to bring my dad back.”