Thomas Crawford grew up on the family farm at Cloncorick, in what he describes as a unique location on the Fermanagh Monaghan Border, known as the Drummully Salient. He recalls an occasion when he was a student and his school bus was stopped by armed members of the IRA, who ordered all passengers out and set the bus alight. Atrocities which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s are recalled, including the killing of a local civilian, Willie Trotter, in August 1972 by a booby-trap explosion. This atrocity had a profound effect on Thomas and his family. He describes the isolation which the family experienced at this time due to the location of their home and recalls the installation of a permanent checkpoint at a particular place, following a local outcry about atrocities being perpetrated in the Newtownbutler area in 1980. After each killing, local knowledge would point to who was responsible, but no action was ever taken by the authorities. Nobody was ever held accountable. Thomas explains that if he had joined the security forces he would have been a prime target for the IRA. He recalls the fact that his father, who lived through the War of Independence in Co. Monaghan, once told him that during his lifetime Protestants in Ireland have always been persecuted. Thomas feels that the Irish Government did not act effectively to curtail the IRA during the recent Troubles and says that he cannot understand how the authorities in Northern Ireland allowed this situation to prevail.
Recordings available via Cavan Co. Library Service