From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 8, 1978

From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 8, 1978

8 August 2018

DRUMANESS — Hopes of a major new manufacturing dairy employing up to 500 people at the old Drumaness Mill were shattered this week with the news that the site is up for sale.

The mill, which was bought by Northern Dairies only two years ago, will be sold at a public auction next month.

A Northern Dairies spokesman would not comment on the sale, but he admitted that the dairy plans had now been scrapped. The news was described by one local councillor as a “desperate blow.”

It was in November 1976 that Northern Dairies first revealed its intention to open an elaborate new dairy at Drumaness. The plant was to have been in operation later this year, producing a variety of dairy products.

A spokesman said then that it would be employing “anything between 50 and 500 workers.” But this week the five-storey 75,000 square feet site was advertised for sale. 

Included in the deal is a total of 10 acres of ground, including the mill and its surrounding land and a large pond.

News of the sale brought a shocked reaction from local councillors. “I am very disappointed,” said Mr Edward McVeigh, chairman of Down Council. “I had been looking forward to great things from Northern Dairies.

“The community in Drumaness would have benefited greatly from those new jobs and we can only hope that whoever buys the mill will make a go of some similar project.”

Local councillor Jim 

Magee said he was shocked to hear that the mill was 

up for sale. “There had been rumours that this was coming off, but they were never confirmed. This is a desperate blow for the district.”

Mr Magee added: “The dairy was something that held promise for Drumaness and it is very disappointing to hear that the plans have been abandoned. It would have been a great help in reducing unemployment and it would have benefited dairy farmers in the area.”

BALLYGOWAN — Work at the MLG Engineering factory in Ballygowan was halted by a one-day protest stoppage by engineering workers on Thursday. Forty-five engineers downed tools for the day in support of their claim for higher wages.

They say they are being paid as textile engineers and not as much as their shipbuilding and general counterparts. Pickets were on duty at the gates of the factory at Moss Road and the men were supported by engineering workers at the nearby Belfast Ropeworks factory.

However, the men were back to work as normal on Friday and a spokesman for the management at MLG said that negotiations were now 

taking place with the workers.

He said the dispute would not affect business at the factory, which does contract work, and he claimed relations were good between the workers and management.

A spokesman for Belfast Ropeworks said that the dispute did not affect production there either. He claimed that only a small percentage of the workforce was involved in the stoppage.

DOWNPATRICK — A new factory to build racing yachts is to come to Downpatrick, bringing six new jobs to the town and the promise of more to follow.

The firm has been brought to the town by LEDU — the Local Enterprise Development Unit — and should be in production in the next six months.

It will be based in a small factory on the Ballydugan Road and will be known as Boyd Yachts. Behind the firm is the husband and wife team of Chris and Sarah Boyd, who are presently producing their Puppeteer yacht in Larne.

Mr Boyd is confident the firm can expand from its new base. “There’s no doubt that we will be able to sell more boats from a bigger factory,” he said.

“The problem in the past has been a lack of space and manpower to enable us to make competitive deliveries. We have had a waiting list of up to three or four months. In the new factory we will have more room and more staff.”

ARDGLASS — Over 22 years ago Mr and Mrs Oliver Laverty emigrated from their native Ardglass to set up a new way of life in New Zealand. Now, after all that time, Oliver has made a welcome return.

Together with three of their six children, Oliver and Moira have spent five hectic weeks visiting their many relations and looking up old friends. Moira has been back quite a few times, but for Oliver this was his first return trip.

When asked why he had not been back sooner, Oliver jokingly remarked: “Well somebody had to work to pay for the rest of the family’s visits.”

DUNDRUM — The last man was well home in the waiters’ race, the final event in Dundrum’s annual regatta on Saturday, before big s of rain began to fall. With unerring success the regatta 

committee had again chosen a dry day for the village’s day out and as usual the crowds poured in to enjoy the fun.

In one respect the sunny weather was not ideal — the waters in the bay were so calm that some of the races had to be cut short, but in compensation the many children who lined the harbour were invited aboard a cargo ship for an inspection with the captain’s compliments.

In the afternoon the fancy dress parade, led by St Malachy’s Girls’ Accordion Band, marched through the town to the sports fields where the judging took place. An afternoon of sports then followed for all ate groups, followed by the donkey derby, which was as popular as ever, and evening activities, which included a skateboarding display.

KILMORE — Have you ever been asked to contribute something towards a church sale? It’s a fair bet that few people have been as generous as the congregation of Kilmore 

Presbyterian Church who are holding a fund-raising summer fair on Saturday.

Among the donations from church members are a Shetland pony and foal, calves, sheep, lambs, pigs, several 

tons of barley, a few antiques and a couple of fridges.

The goods will all be auctioned by an auctioneer from Osborne King and Megran in a bid to raise as much money as possible. 

The cash will go mainly to pay off the debts of Drumaghlis Primary School and anything left over will go to church funds.

Oliver, Moira and their three children, Catherine, Damian and Ronan, leave for home today.

EDENDARRIFF — A newly formed group from Edendarriff, outside Ballynahinch, has just released its first ever record.

The Country Cream, led by Peter King, have 

released a country and western record entitled Pretty Little Girl from Omagh and Rathfriland on the Hill.

Peter is well known locally for his country and western singing. In fact he was a member of a progressive group before a serious car accident six years ago. It was bad setback, but now he is back with a bang and with a brand new group to back him.

The two youthful members who provide the back-up arte John Le Feurve, from Drumaness, on guitar, and 15 year-old Martin Pollock on piano accordion.

SPA — Noel Suffern, from Spa Young Farmers’ Club, was one of a four-man team from Northern Ireland which joined groups from 16 European countries in Sweden last week. The reason for the trip was the annual European Rally for Young Farmers and 4H clubs.

ATTICAL — A tug ‘o war competition at Attical, near Kilkeel, ended in tragedy on Sunday when one of the competitors collapsed and died.

Mr William Doran, aged 52, of Ballymageough, Kilkeel, became ill as he pulled in competition for Attical against another team from the Aughrim district. He received the Last Rites of his Church from his brother, Victor, who is on holiday from Sweden.

Four nurses and coronary care units from Daisy Hill Hospital and Mourne Hospital, Kilkeel, tried to revive Mr Doran.