From the pages of the Down Recorder, February 6, 1979

From the pages of the Down Recorder, February 6, 1979

6 February 2019

BALLYNAHINCH — A Ballynahinch headmaster hit out at the education authorities this week for the lack of permanent accommodation at his school where two thirds of the pupils are in wooden huts.

Mr Harry Bent said St Colman’s High School had been promised a major extension, but was unlikely to get it “as long as comprehensive education is the policy of the Government.”

Speaking at the school’s annual prize day, Mr Bent said it angered him that the provision of accommodation had not kept pace with the growing numbers and successes of pupils.

“In St Colman’s nine temporary classrooms accommodate 225 pupils out of a total of 36,” he said. “This means that almost two thirds of our pupils are in temporary accommodation which was first erected as a temporary measure ten years ago.”

Mr Bent stressed temporary classrooms may solve a financial problem for the Government, but there was so substitute for normal school accommodation.

“At least 12 of the 19 subjects on the secondary curriculum are practical subjects, such as domestic science. Temporary classrooms make no provision for these subjects, which form over half of the curriculum,” he explained.

The headmaster told parents that since the school opened 14 years ago, with accommodation for 120 pupils, no extra provision had been made for practical subjects to facilitate the pupils now on the roll.

“No matter which way the problem of accommodation is resolved the pupils are being discriminated against in regard to the subjects they can choose,” he continued.

“For 14 years chairs and tables have had to be carried in and out for the gymnasium and for 14 years the Department of Education has turned a deaf ear to the pleas of both the management and the South Eastern Education Board.”

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick’s Marlene Fitzsimons is to represent Northern Ireland in the finals of the Miss British Legion contest in England in May.

Marlene, representing the Downpatrick branch, won the Northern Ireland heats in the county town on Friday night and will now travel to the national finals to be held in Brighton.

Miss Fitzsimons, from Roughal Park, beat entries from Dungannon, Omagh and Belfast, as well as last year’s winner, Andrea Quinn, from Comber.

The four points that the judges were looking for were Legion knowledge, Legion involvement, poise and appearance, and diction and clarity of expression.

MOURNES — Newcastle’s Shimna River has been ped as one of the water extraction rivers for the proposed new multi-million-pound reservoir at Kinnahalla in the Mourne Mountains.

The news, announced late last night from Stormont, will be welcomed in Newcastle where there have been fears that the Shimna would dry up if water was taken for the new scheme.

“It has been decided not to proceed with the abstraction intake on the Shimna River because of the possible affect a further abstraction might have on the river,” said a spokesman for the Department of the Environment.

“In addition the Department has agreed that a residual flow of water from the Fofanny reservoir should now be provided for the upper reaches of the Shimna and Fofanny rivers which will result in improvement downstream, especially in times of low flows and will also ensure that the amenity value of the Shimna to Tollymore Forest Park will be retained.”

Newcastle councillor Paddy O’Donoghue said the announcement would be seen as a major victory for people opposed to the proposal.

The new reservoir, which is being built on the upper reaches of the Bann downstream from the existing Spelga reservoir, will help meet the growing demand in the Belfast area, which is now approaching 80 million gallons a day and will also augment supplies to those parts of Co Down not at present supplied from existing Mourne sources.

ARDGLASS — The badly decomposed body of a man was found on the rocks at Sheepland, Ardglass, on Monday morning. The man is thought to have been in his early twenties and the lower limbs were missing from the knees down.

The man was well-built and was wearing only a pair of blue jeans and purple underwear. A post mortem was carried out on Monday, but police are still investigating the discovery in a bid to identify the body.

SEAFORDE — The former RUC station Seaforde is up for sale at a staggering £40,000.

The station, which was completely renovated by the McDowell family, who have been living the Georgian building since it ceased to operate as a police base, went on the market this week through estate agents Osborne King and Megran.

The building still looks like a police station from the outside owing to a preservation order. The front door still has its peep hole and numerous locks, but the interior certainly does not resemble a station. The cells have become the kitchen and the remaining rooms have been completely renovated.

Because of its similarity with other police stations the current owners have had several amusing incidents when people have called looking for directions, or asking for stray drunks to be locked up for the night.

A spokesman for the estate agents agreed that it was one of the most unusual buildings to appear on the property market and added that it would suit anyone worried about security problems!

NEWCASTLE — Provisional plans for Newcastle’s summer fun programme — the centrepiece of Down District’s holiday entertainment — are already being drawn up.

Newcastle Town Committee — the local body which co-ordinates the summer programme — held its annual convention last week and preparations for this year’s programme got underway.

Members of the town committee have pledged their determination to make this year’s event even bigger and better than before. Although plans are still at a very early stage the town committee is hoping to add a variety of new events to the programme, including a motorcycle event to the top of Slieve Donard.

Mr John Toner, chairman of the town committee, said the theme of the 1979 summer programme will be directly related to the worldwide ‘Year of the Child’ campaign and that it would be important to get a maximum number of young people involved, particularly local youth organisations.

DRUMANESS — The Drumaness branch of the SDLP melds its annual meeting recently with Down councillor Mr John Ritchie presiding.

Mr Ritchie congratulated the branch on a very successful year which had proved difficult politically, although the party had come through well.

He said they looked forward to the European elections in June and that in John Hume the party had the best candidate in the field and that a great effort would be needed to ensure success.

Turning to the Westminster election, which most people expect in early June, Mr Ritchie said that in Eddie McGrady the party had an excellent candidate with a record of service second to none.

Officers elected at the meeting were Anne Thompson, chairperson; Patrick Toman, vice-chairman; Anne Magee, secretary; and Denis Fagan, treasurer.

KILLYLEAGH — The pantomime Aladdin is to be presented by the Killyleagh Players this Friday and Saturday in Killyleagh High School. The panto faithfully follows the fairytale of Aladdin, the magic lamp and the evil uncle with a Chinese setting in three acts.

The taxing role of Aladdin is played by Heather McMurray, with Jim Woods filling the other lead part as the hilarious Widow Twankey. Supporting these two are Jean Murphy as Sing Sing, Fred Hamilton as the Magician and Jocelyn Sullivan as Jenin.

The production — the fifth by the players since their foundation in 1975 — is in the very capable hands of Jean Morrow and the director is Olive Johnston.

DUNDRUM — The East Down branch of the National Association of Schoolmasters and the Union of Women Teachers celebrated their tenth anniversary with a supper dance in the Bay Inn, Dundrum, on Thursday night. The branch president, Mr Hugh Graham, welcomed teachers, friends and special guests.