Patrick Kielty has said he is not able to forgive the loyalist paramilitaries who shot dead his father in Northern Ireland 30 years ago. The TV star was just 16 in 1988 when his dad Jack was killed in Dundrum, the County Down town where he grew up. And in a new BBC documentary airing on Wednesday, he opens up about the loss of his father, and reveals that the IRA offered the family "revenge" following the killing. In My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me, Patrick recalls how his uncle was approached by members of the IRA while at the graveyard. He says the men told his uncle: "We could properly use a couple of good, smart, strong, strapping lads like those Kielty lads if they are interested in revenge."
Patrick Kielty has opened up about his father's murder in My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me
But Patrick said his family were not looking for any form of retaliation, saying: "They were told in no uncertain terms where to go." He added: "Everyone wants to believe that their loved one died for a cause. My dad died for nothing. He wasn’t a political figure, he wasn’t taking a stand, he had a building firm, he employed both sides… He was just doing the right thing."
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Three men were eventually convicted in connection with the killing, but they were freed after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In the documentary, Patrick explores the legacy of the agreement 20 years on. "I can't forgive them," he said of the men responsible for his father's death. "But whether or not these people are in jail, it's not going to bring dad back. I felt if this is what has to happen to stop this happening to someone else, I'll suck that up. I won't hug them and tell them it was ok – but I want to move on."
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My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me will be broadcast on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday 4 April.