From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 22, 1978

From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 22, 1978

22 August 2018

KILLOUGH — A breakdown in radio communications led to a 17-minute delay in turning out the Killough coastguard to an SOS call, it was revealed this week.

The SOS came from a group of young canoeists who got into difficulties at Coney Island last month. Fortunately, on-one was injured.

However, local people were puzzled that the nearby coastguard services did not promptly answer an emergency call and the incident led local councillor George Flinn to call for a review of rescue procedures.

Mr Flinn was given his answer this week in a frank letter from the coastguard service, which admitted there had been a 17-minute delay.

He was told in the letter, read to Down councillors, that the RNLI is currently reviewing the type of life craft and the methods used along the Down coastline and it will be taking into account the incident at Coney Island.

The letter pointed out that it was ironic that the coastguard had identified the Killough area as a likely accident spot on that day because of the water sports being held as part of the village’s festival weekend.

“The failure of radio units meant they could not assist the young men in canoes at Coney Island. The unacceptable delay of 17 minutes has caused us concern,” the letter stated.

But the letter ended by warning that people who disregard advice and put to sea in unstable craft in bad conditions usually preclude rescue attempts.

NEWCASTLE — Bulldozers moved in at the weekend to begin work in Newcastle’s new street widening scheme — and one of the first landmarks of the seaside resort to get the chop was the street wall at Central Promenade.

The scheme, which should eliminate Newcastle’s chic-a-bloc summer traffic jams, will take more than a year to complete.

In the meantime diversions and changes in traffic flow are in operation, the main change being at Bryansford Road, which will now carry two-way traffic, and at the main access to Donard Park, which will now become an exit only, with entry beside Patton’s Bridge.

CASTLEWELLAN — A Castlewellan councillor, Mrs Ethel Smyth, has offered a £200 reward in an all-out bid to catch the thieves who stole several thousand pounds from her on Saturday.

A shocked Mrs Smyth told the Recorder that over £5,000 worth of assorted furniture was taken and that she may have little chance of recovering it.

The burglary, described by Mrs Syth, as a “well organised and large scale operation”, occurred in the early hours when she was asleep at her home in Ballywillwill.

“My husband and I were awakened by a notice outside. My husband got up and saw people outside. They had already loaded a van with furniture and were packing other items into a car,” she said.

Mrs Smyth plans to do everything possible to bring the burglars to justice. “I am offering £200 as a reward in an attempt to get information about the incident. I would be satisfied just to know that the offenders were safely behind bars.

“Someone in the area must know who was responsible and I only hope that this reward may help in tracing them.”

PORTAFERRY — Portaferry police are investigating a mystery death which occurred in the town on Saturday. The body of 47 year-old Mr John Glenn Clugston was found lying in a tent in afield adjacent to Mountain Road.

A police spokesman said that the man lived in Dundonald and that foul play was not suspected.

QUOILE — A killer weed which has poisoned several cattle and sheep along the upper reaches of the Quoile River has brought a warning for local farmers to be on their guard.

So far the deaths have occurred on a stretch on the river between Drumaness and Rademon, but the weed is believed to be spreading.

Department of Agriculture experts have confirmed that is Water wart, which is highly poisonous to livestock. In this case it is believed that some of the weed has found its way into the river and has been washed up on the banks.

The death toll up to now includes a cow, a bullock and three sheep. In each case the poisoned animals had access to the river or one of its tributaries.

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said the weed resembles the more common and harmless ‘Fools Parsley’, but is regarded as the most poisonous plant growing in Northern Ireland.

“If farmers find it on their land the safest thing they can do is to dig it up entirely and destroy it,” the spokesman said. “However, great care must be taken to do this properly. Roots must not be left lying about.

COMBER — More than 6,000 ‘Blackmen’ from all over Co Down will parade through Comber on Saturday for the annual August procession of the Royal Black Institution.

This is the first time in 13 years that the procession has been held in Comber and some 118 preceptories will be taking part, led by an equally high number of bands.

Comber, being the host district, will front the parade and others will follow in numerical order. A huge public turnout is excepted and the parade will be setting off from a field on the Ballygowan Road at 12.30pm.

DOWNPATRICK — A compensation dispute with a landowner is now the only obstacle to Downpatrick’s long-awaited new car park behind Irish Street.

The car park plans were given full approval by local planners this week and a spokesman for the Department of the Environment’s Roads Service branch in Downpatrick said that work was hoped to get underway in this financial year.

He revealed that one landowner is still blocking the plans because he is unhappy with the compensation being offered. If no agreement is reached with him the land might have to be vested, meaning a lengthy hold-up.

When it does go ahead, the new car park will be built between Irish Street and Market Street and will hold up to 80 cars.

“We hope to enter the construction stage in this financial year because money is available,” the Roads Service spokesman said. “We are very anxious to press on in an effort to provide good parking facilities at that end of the town.”

LOUGHISLANDREAVY — A builders hut at Loughinislandreavy, outside Castlewellan, was broken into on Thursday night. The hut belongs to McCartan and McAteer builders and rolls of steel wire and a pair of wire cutters were stolen.

DUNDRUM — Heavy rain may have kept the numbers down, but £8,000 was still raised at a garden fete organised by the William Keown Appeal Fund at Dundrum Castle on Saturday. The money raised will go towards the Northern Ireland Council for Orthopaedic Development.

The fete was opened by Mr William Harvey and comperes for the afternoon’s activities were Commander Bill Martin and Mr Christy Brown. 

The main events were a bonny baby competition, a children’s fancy dress contest, children’s sports and a closely contested tug ‘o war.

Between the various events the RUC Silver Band played a selection of popular tunes and helped to keep everyone’s spirits up in spite of the bad weather.

GAA — Down’s senior footballers failed in their bid to reach their first All-Ireland final since 1968 when they went under to a smooth and rampaging Dublin by a margin of 1-16 to 0-8 in Sunday’s semi-final at Croke Park.

It is doubtful if there is any team that could have lived with the ‘Dubs’ as they hit top form in this entertaining game in front of a crowd of 50,000.

Down team: M McCabe, T McGovern, M Turley, M Sands, C Digney (0-1), B Toner, P Murtagh, C McAlarney (0-1), L Austin (0-1), B Gardner, M Cunningham, W Walsh (0-5), J Byrne, P Rooney, J Digney. Subs: P O’Rourke, P Donnan, E Toner.