St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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Donegal News July 24 1982

Ten adults and eight children were held hostage in two houses near St Johnston by armed IRA gunmen from Saturday evening of last week (17 July 1982) until the men finally surrendered and were captured on Sunday night (18 July).

The ordeal began when Mrs Mabel Porter of St Johnston was out hanging some washing on the line on Saturday evening.

She was approached by a man with a gun and told that if she acted normally nobody would be hurt.

She was taken into the house and with her husband Mr Jack Porter ,brother-in-law Mr Stewart Porter, five children and a friend of the children all aged between two and nine years, was put into a room.

This took place at 6.25 pm and they were held hostage until 10.45 pm - Sunday. 

The gunmen took over the Porter house as a hideout after they had fled from Gardai who interrupted them as they were about to transport explosives to a stolen lorry. 

With the Porter family securely held, three of the gunmen went to the home of Mr Hugh Coyle, four miles away at Trentagh, St Johnston.  Mr Coyle and his son William were outside the house working on a car when the men arrived.

They were ordered inside the house at gunpoint where Mrs Nora Coyle and Miss Margo Moore, William's fiancée, were waiting.

One of the men remained with the family while the others made off with Mr Coyle's lorry.