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New Book Detailing Actions Of Tipperary IRA Priest Fr. Patrick Ryan.

“The Padre” is a new publication which further details the actions of Tipperary priest Fr. Patrick Ryan, latter responsible for arming the Irish Republican Army (IRA), using funding supplied by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, once known as the “Mad Dog of the Middle East”. Colonel Gaddafi was a Libyan dictator, who was himself deposed and killed in 2012.

In a book published by Merrion Press; authored by award winning journalist Ms Jennifer O’Leary, the Tipperary priest reveals how his tip-off to the IRA led to the mistaken identity and murder of a senior Brussels bank official.

Tipperary-born priest Fr. Patrick Ryan now aged in his nineties, has admitted his link to the murder of the then 47 year old banker Mr Michael André Michaux. Mr Michaux latter a senior official at the Central Bank in Brussels, lived in the same street as the targeted diplomat, named as Mr Paul Holmer, the deputy British Ambassador to NATO.

Fr. Ryan has confirmed that the real IRA target, back in March 1979, was Mr Paul Holmer latter a Brussels-based senior British diplomat at NATO. In early 1979 senior British officials in Brussels were put on high alert following a warning that the IRA were plotting to kill a senior UK representative in the city. Among those warned was former British Home Secretary Mr Roy Jenkins, who was then President of the European Commission.

Ms O’Leary first spoke to Fr. Ryan in 2019 for the landmark BBC NI series ‘Spotlight’ on the ‘Troubles — A Secret History’ in which he admitted securing explosives for the IRA from Libya and confessed to his role in the Hyde Park and Brighton bombings.

In her book Ms O’Leary delves into more detail with Fr. Ryan regarding his activities and his role in assisting an IRA unit in Europe.

On March 22nd, 1979, Sir Richard Sykes, aged 58, the British Ambassador to Holland, and married father of 3, was shot dead by the IRA. Sir Richard was seated in his Rolls Royce outside his residence in the Hague. His 19-year-old footman, Mr Karel Straub, was also murdered in the attack.
Just hours later two IRA gunmen ambushed Brussels banker Mr Michaux in his car, mistaking him for the NATO diplomat Holmer.

At this time Fr. Ryan often stayed at the home of well-connected art historian Ms Lucie Ninane in Brussels and was there on the day of Sir Richard Sykes assassination. Fr. Ryan met regularly at the Ninane residence with a companion named Maurice, who passed on information to the IRA, and here Fr. Ryan also obtained information from the art historian’s well-placed associates.

Fr. Ryan heard of Mr Michaux’s true identity the following day while listening to a radio news report and fearing his own arrest, he fled Brussels in the back of an ambulance, before taking refuge at a monastery. The monks were expecting him, however he never disclosed the business he was involved in or why he required somewhere to hold-up.

During a lunch hosted by a friend of Lucie Ninane at her home in a wealthy suburb, Fr. Ryan’s host mentioned that a British diplomat lived nearby at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Fr. Ryan claims he made sketches of the area noting car registrations coming and going from different houses, before passing same to his intermediary Maurice, who in turn passed this information to the IRA so that the hit team on the continent got the details.

At 6.15pm on March 22nd, 1979 two IRA gunmen approached a car close to Mr Holmer’s residence and fired eight bullets in three bursts from just a few yards. The sole occupant was hit in the head and arms and later died in hospital.

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