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 feelings in the South of Ireland after 1916. Philip lived in Ardboe , County Tyrone, Northern Ireland during World War 11. 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, Northern Ireland in the late 1940s, he joined his father’s garage business at an early age. They had suffered subsequent run-ins with the Royal Ulster Constabulary, but he still 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 atttempts were made on his family’s lives and he was told he would be run out of town. On December 7, 1971 a terrorist bomb destroyed his thriving business. “Our lives were 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 vewed to see me ‘run out of Donaghadee.,”Help came in the form of the Reverent Ian Paisley. “While reliving the horror of past events, and after several assassin’s attempts, my health began to suffer. I became an endless one-man campaign to secure compensation for my personal injuries and my large business site from the Northern Ireland government.”

In January 1973 Philip, his wife and three very young children had to flee for there lives away from Donaghadee.