The former Dutch industrialist, Dr Tiede Herrema, who was kidnapped by the IRA on his way to work in Limerick 30 years ago, returns to the city's university today.

Dr Herrema, who is 84, is donating his collection of personal documents relating to his abduction to the University of Limerick’s Special Collections library.

Dr Herrema was the head of the Ferenka factory in Castletroy in Limerick during the 1970s. On his way to work on 3 October 1975, he was kidnapped by an armed IRA gang.

The gang were demanding the release of a number of IRA prisoners held in British jails. The abduction sparked one of the biggest security operations in the history of the state.

Dr Herrema was eventually traced to a house in Monesterevin, but a siege ensued for 14 days before his release was secured. His captors, Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle, were sentenced to 20 and 15 years in jail respectively.

Today, Dr Herrema returns to the University of Limerick to donate his private file of papers and documents relating to his abduction and the subsequent trial of his captors.

It includes a letter from the former Taoiseach, Dr Liam Cosgrave, along with letters of gratitude to the Government from the Ferenka company, as well as letters from well wishers all over the country.  

UL President Dr Rodger Downer said Dr Herrema’s kidnapping was a significant part of Irish history and his calm, controlled behaviour during his ordeal in no small part accounts for his survival.