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Statement by Tanaiste Simon Coveney on the passing of Dr. Tiede Herrema, Friday 24th April 2020

Statement by Tanaiste Simon Coveney on the passing of Dr. Tiede Herrema, Friday 24th April 2020

 

I have learned with great sadness of the death of Dr. Tiede Herrema, who passed away peacefully at his home in the Netherlands on Friday (24th April). Aged 99, Tiede had just this month suffered the loss of his beloved wife of 72 years, Elisabeth Herrema, who died following a long illness.

 

Although Dutch by birth, Tiede and his wife Elisabeth were made honorary citizens of Ireland as a mark of respect and gratitude for the manner in which they had survived a 36 day kidnapping ordeal at the hands of the IRA in 1975. The abduction made international news at the time, however, the lasting legacy of their story, was the remarkable courage that both he and Elisabeth showed and the amazing generosity of spirit that they subsequently displayed in arranging to meet with, and express forgiveness to, their abducters. Tiede and Elisabeth were determined that their ordeal would not undermine their love of Ireland and its people. They maintained these close connections to the end.

 

The dignity, bravery and courage shown by Tiede and Elisabeth continue to inspire. Their actions over the years epitomise the true spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation which are needed to move beyond conflict and adversity. We are honoured that that the Herremas chose not to let such a terrible life-changing experience colour or define their relationship with Ireland. Both Tiede and Elisabeth will always have a special place in the hearts of the Irish people. Ireland and the Netherlands are the poorer for their passing.

 

Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Herrema family – Jelle, Sjoerd, Idse and Harm.

 

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n- anamacha dílse

 

 

ENDs

Press Office

27 April 2020

 

 

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