The Doonan family lived initially on a small farm at Kinawley. The family also ran a small country shop and Tony was brought up here until he was eight years of age, when the family moved to a house on the Border at Cloghoug, Swanlinbar. Smuggling was rife in the area, which was beneficial to the finances of the small business. When the Troubles began, the only open road was past the site of the Customs Post on one side of the Border and the British Checkpoint on the other, and Tony recalls those difficult days of delays and security checks. He describes an occasion which occurred when he was aged 15 and was walking through the family’s fields. He spotted two men with a machine gun. He later became acquainted with these members of the IRA. The men returned on a regular basis and he would secretly assist them, though his family or others had no knowledge of his activities. The outhouses at the Doonan farm thus became a safe haven for IRA guns and ammunition. In January 1975, Kevin Coen was shot near Cassidy’s Cross, close to the Doonan home. Some years later, Tony’s father was arrested by An Garda Siochána in Ballyconnell under suspicion of facilitating the activities of the IRA but was released soon afterwards. Today, Tony articulates the fact that he feels he was incited into a situation at the age of fifteen when he had very little option but to facilitate the members of the IRA in the storage of their arms.
Recordings available via Cavan Co. Library Service