The family of the late Paddy Kelly is to be presented with the Military Star next week, a prestigious Defence Forces award that is presented posthumously to personnel killed as a direct result of hostile action.
It will be the first time the medal is presented to a soldier who lost their life on home soil as the medal had only ever been presented to Defence Forces personnel who lost their lives in service overseas. It is understood that Defence Forces regulations had to be changed in order for the medal to be posthumously given to Private Paddy Kelly.
The prestigious medal will be presented to the Kelly family by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter next Monday. This medal falls into a category of Defence Forces medals of honour that are only awarded following rigorous investigation by a board of officers appointed by the Chief of Staff.
The local branch of the UN Veterans is to be involved in the ceremony, which will take place in Kelly Square in the barracks.
Private Paddy Kelly from Moate was killed along alongside Garda recruit Gary Sheehan in December 1983 while involved in the rescue of supermarket boss Don Tidey, who was being held by the Provisional IRA in Derrada Woods, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim.
Private Kelly was honoured in his home town on the 25th anniversary of his death when the Moate Town Park was named in his honour at a poignant ceremony that was attended by his family, the community of Moate, members of the Defence Forces, the UN Veterans and Mr Tidey.
The naming of the park after Paddy Kelly was seen as a fitting tribute to him and at the time then Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council Joe Whelan said: "It is apt that such a facility should be provided in honour of Paddy Kelly because it reflects the love he had for his family. Over and over again he has been described as a gentleman whose interests were his family, the Defence Forces and his love of cars."
Paddy Kelly is remembered, too, in Custume Barracks where a square is named in his honour and a Mass is celebrated every year in to mark his anniversary.