Canon William Johnston (b.1935)

Canon William Johnston (b.1935)


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William Johnston grew up in Tievemore, Co. Donegal, and he recalls life there during the first Troubles in the 1950s. In his youth, he worked in a shop in Pettigo before moving to Enniskillen, where he worked for years at Robert Dickie Hardware. During this time, he became a member of the security forces, prior to being accepted for training in religious ministry. He spent his first two years of ministry in Belfast, where he experienced the beginnings of the Troubles. In 1972, he was appointed curate in Castlederg, where he was to be based for the worst six years of the Troubles. He joined the RUC on a part-time basis at this time and describes his attendance at the aftermath of many of the local atrocities, including the murder of an 18 year old youth, Victor Foster, whose car was blown up. William recalls the attack on Castlederg Barracks while he was on duty there and says that his life was often threatened. He describes warning his young family of the potential danger and teaching them safety practices. In later years he was appointed to Drumquin and Drumclamph outside Castlederg where he ministered until 1990, followed by his ultimate appointment to Trillick and Kilskeery prior to his retirement to Enniskillen.

This collection, carried out by Irish Life and Lore on behalf of Cavan County Library Service, is funded by the EU Special EU Programmes Body Peace IV fund under the objective to build positive relations with people from different backgrounds and communities to support peace and reconciliation.

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Additional information



Audio series:

Voices of the Troubles

Download time limit:

48 hours

Number of files:


Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore

Product ID:



34 mins

Location of Recording

Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh