In the 1970s, Herrema ran a wire factory, Ferenka, in the city of Limerick, Ireland. At the time, this was the city's biggest employer, with approximately 1,400 workers. On the morning of 3 October 1975, having just left his home in Castletroy near Limerick, Herrema was abducted by two members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle. The kidnappers demanded the release of three IRA prisoners, including Rose Dugdale.
After a massive security operation, the kidnappers were eventually traced on 21 October 1975 to a house in Monasterevin, County Kildare. After a further two-week-long siege, Herrema was released, shaken but unharmed. He left Ireland soon after.
He eventually returned to present an episode of Saturday Live.[when?] He and his wife Elizabeth were made honorary Irish citizens in 1975, and he was made a Freeman of the city of Limerick.
- "IRA kidnap victim returns to city". BBC News. 2005-10-18. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- "The Hostage Dilemma". Time. 1975-10-20. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- "Herrema donating papers to UL library". RTÉ News. 2005-10-18. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- "Parliamentary Debates (Official Report - Unrevised) Dáil Éireann Tuesday, 30 November 2004". Houses of the Oireachtas. 2004-11-30. Retrieved 2009-06-06.