From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 23, 1973

From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 23, 1973

23 October 2013


STRANGFORD — The Strangford ferry, which should have been back in service lat week after its annual overhaul, will not be back on station until the middle of next week at the earliest. Yesterday it was still in dry dock in Belfast. Meanwhile, there’s chaos on both sides of the lough as the “vital life line”, as one Portaferry merchant described it, remains broken.

Since the end of September a 35 foot open motor boat has been maintaining a passenger service, but for heavy commercial traffic the only alternative is an extra 50 miles by road.

Asked what was causing the delay in the ferry’s return, a spokesman replied: “We’ve found a helluva lot more to be repaired than we expected. It’s the accumulated wear and tear of four years’ flogging. This vessel takes a great amount of punishment when you think of it going non-stop for 16 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The spokesman said next year’s overhaul would be more detailed and judging by experience could mean a month out of service. In the meantime, every effort was being made to get the ferry back to Strangford. Only the weather for the delivery trip would cause any further delay.

Major W. S. Brownlow, of Portaferry, has contacted Mr. David Howell, Minister of State, to arrange a meeting with members of the former county council to accelerate the provision of a second vessel.

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick hospitals are suffering from the effects of a provincial shortage of qualified staff, but according to the authorities, the situation could be a lot worse.

Downshire Hospital is in need of two registrars in psychiatry, two physiotherapists and an occupational therapist. Downe Hospital needs a consultant anaesthetist. Mr. George Flinn, chief officer of the local health and social services board, says that the situation is causing concern.

BISHOPSCOURT — The Ulster Automobile Club’s relay race, scheduled to be run at Bishopscourt tomorrow, has been transferred to the Kirkistown circuit because of security reasons. The move follows an explosion in a NAAFI building at the RAF base early last Friday.

The building, which was extensively damaged, is situated outside the main perimeter defences at the base. The area had been sealed off since a 100 lb. bomb was discovered by RAF personnel just before midnight. An army bomb disposal squad examined the bomb which consisted of a milk churn packed with explosives, a battery and a clock.

Two controlled explosions were carried out and the second off the bomb which blew a hole in the wall of the NAAFI building.

The unique long distance relay race has attracted big entries and the transfer to Kirkistown is a body blow to local race fans.

KILLYLEAGH — Col. Denys Rowan-Hamilton came up against the weight of the ‘old guard’ when he launched an attack on East Down Rural Council which, he claimed, had not given Killyleagh a single swing or roundabout during its existence.

Mr. Edward McVeigh, chairman of both the rural council and Down District Council, of which Col. Rowan-Hamilton, is a member, was quick to go on the defence of his former body. He told Col. Rowan-Hamilton that plans for playing fields in the area were in fact with the ministry at the present time and that any delay now was on their part.

Col. Rowan-Hamilton said that he had personally handed over the ground for the playing fields four years ago when the council chairman at the time had promised them the job would be completed in six months.

“The Town Committee had in fact even raised money for the swings and so on, but because the matter passed into the hands of the council that money has been lying in the bank and the land has been growing thistles.”

CROSSGAR — A 10 lb. bomb exploded at Down County Council’s branch offices in Crossgar on Sunday night, causing minor damage. The bomb, left in a duffel bag at the front of the premises, was apparently spotted by a local resident at 7pm.

No warning was raised until 8pm and both ends of the main Downpatrick-Belfast road were sealed off as army bomb experts moved in. The large crowds who gathered had a long wait as the security forces held back waiting traffic for the mechanism to trigger. Finally, at around 11pm, the bomb was exploded by the army’s roving robot.

NEWCASTLE — A deputation from Down District Council is to seek a meeting with Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Church authorities in Newcastle in a last ditch bid to settle a dispute about the development of property at Main Street.

But the move to attempt a reconciliation came dangerously near to causing a major breach among the councillors themselves on Monday night, with a number of members threatening to walk out before the dispute finished.

For although the opinion that the council should help in any way it was able received general assent, a number of members were reluctant to become involved in church affairs. Others felt that as planning permission had apparently already been passed, there was nothing constructive they could do to help.

BALLYNAHINCH — A general meeting of the Ballynahinch branch of the Cancer Research Campaign held in the health clinic on Thursday was the first in three years And it earned members high praise for their ability to get on with the job without wasting time talking about it.

During the three years since their last full meeting, yearly cheques to headquarters have increased by £300 to a total this year of £1,000, which arrived just too late to be included in the nationwide totals to give the province an all-time record.

The guest speaker was Major Gaffigan, area secretary for Northern Ireland, who said: “It shows the enthusiasm of this committee when, despite the difficulties, people are still prepared to put themselves out to raise more money than ever before.”

KILLOUGH — A deputation from Killough Village Committee is to be invited to meet members of Down District Council on November 5 to discuss a number of points raised in a letter to them. One area of concern is the provision of sports facilities for teenagers and adults. Another is the need for a children’s play area.

The committee also wants to discuss the taking of Killough pier and harbour into public ownership and the implementation of proposals for the harbour arising from a Down County Council-sponsored survey.

With regard to Coney Island caravan park, the committee is “gravely concerned by the amount of vandalism and rowdyism appearing to emanate from summer visitors to this park, and would like to discuss with the district council the licence requirements for such a caravan site.”

BRIGHT — Shrigley golf enthusiast Danny McCartan wrote his name inthe short history book of Bright golf course when he shot an impeccable hole-in-one there on Saturday. It was the first hole-in-one recorded at the popular course and for Danny it was his first ever tee-to-pin-stroke. It was at the short, 163-yard par three hole that he brought his six iron to bear on a beautiful tee shot during a friendly fourball.

SEAFORDE — Last weekend was the harvest festival in Loughinisland Parish Church, Seaforde. The preacher at the Friday evening service was the Rev. Canon Noble Hamilton, rector of Seapatrick Parish Church, Banbridge. The preacher on Sunday morning was the Rev. W. E. Kennedy, rector of Strangford, and on Sunday evening the Rev. R. F. Greer, rector of Castlewellan, gave the sermon.

All services were conducted by the rector, the Rev. W. B. Drummond, who thanked the guest preachers, those who had decorated the church or sent gifts, the organist, Mr. V. McKinney, the choir members and the visiting singers and all who had helped to make the services a success.