LOVE AND COURAGE: A MEMOIR
Philip Coogan tells his remarkable life story with moving honesty, describing his triumph over tragedy. Born with Northern Ireland connections in Manchester, England, his grandfather fell victim to anti-British Army feeling in the South after 1916.
Philip lived in Ardboe, Northern Ireland, during World War II. There he suffered from tuberculosis and had a near-death experience. He paints a pleasant picture of growing up in a rural community, which makes what happens next even more disturbing.
Moving to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland in the late 1940s, he joined his father’s garage business at an early age. They had subsequent run-ins with the RUC, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, but he went on to become a successful businessman. After marrying, Philip moved to Donaghadee, where he made a name for himself in the motor trade.
As Northern Ireland’s troubles intensified, repeated attempts were made on his family’s lives and he was told he would be run out of town. On December 7, 1971, a loyalist bomb destroyed his business. “Our lives had changed overnight, but I was determined to rebuild my demolished garage. I was frustrated at every turn by the cold shoulders of the planning authorities, and those who vowed to see me ‘run out of Donaghadee.”
Help came in the form of the Reverend Ian Paisley. “While reliving the horror of past events, and after several assassins’ attempts, my health began to suffer. I began an endless one-man campaign to secure compensation for my personal injuries and business site from the Northern Ireland government.”