Maureen Moore was reared in Cootehill, Co. Cavan where her father farmed, and the family later moved to Ballyhoe. She became an assistant teacher and taught in a school in Virginia, Co. Cavan. In 1956 she married Kenneth North, and they operated K.H. North, a grocery and petrol business near the Border at Rosslea. At 6pm on 9 January 1977, the IRA arrived at their premises and ordered them out. They placed a milk churn filled with explosives in the shop which did not explode during the night. The following morning the military arrived and an ATO officer, Martin Anthony Walsh, having enjoyed a cup of tea with the Norths, went to the premises to remove the bomb. During this operation the device exploded, killing him instantly. Maureen relates that she wrote a letter of sympathy to Officer Walsh’s widow and twenty years later the Walsh family came to visit the North home. In 1982, another explosion at their business premises occurred, destroying it for the second time, and in the same year the hay in their barn was set alight. In 1987, IRA members arrived at their home and tied up Maureen and Kenneth. Their 26-year-old son, Peter, was abducted and forced to drive a van filled with explosives into Aghamartin checkpoint in Rosslea, under threat to his own life and that of his father. Fortunately, only the detonators went off, which saved Peter’s life and the lives of the checkpoint officials. Maureen explains that this was “the last straw” and the family then decided to move to Lisnaskea for safety. The threats kept coming, and a threatening telephone call made Peter make the decision to emigrate to England where he remains to this day. Neither he nor his father had ever served in the security forces, but Maureen believes that they were targeted because they served British soldiers in their shop, they were Protestants and they lived near the Border.
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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