From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 9, 1979

From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 9, 1979

9 October 2019

STRANGFORD LOUGH — Police have still not recovered the body of the second man drowned on a fishing trip to Strangford Lough at the weekend.

At Downpatrick police station — from where the search operation was co-ordinated — police say there is no hope that 26 year-old Carrickfergus man, Mr John Craig, is still alive.

They believe that Mr Craig’s body has been swept out into the Irish Sea and search has now been stretched to the Isle of Man.

Mr Craig went in a 15-foot fibre glass cabin cruiser to fish for mackerel bait on Saturday afternoon, along with with Peter Johnson (32), from Woodcroft Rise, Braniel, Belfast.

In the early hours of Sunday morning police were alerted by the relatives of the two men, anxious that neither had returned. A massive sea and air search was then launched.

Police went to Strangford and found the car with a boat trailer attached, in which the two men had travelled down to Strangford to begin the ill-fated trip. The car was parked on the green beside the ferry terminal in the village.

UDR men based at Ballykinlar joined in the search operation, with one search party concentrating on the area around Guns Island near Killard Point, with the other searched the coastal rocks, beaches and cliffs towards Ardglass.

Shortly after the car was found a local farmer spotted the missing boat lying holed and overturned amongst the rocks at Ben Dearg Bay, near to the bar mouth of the Strangford coast.

Mr John body was recovered from the water beside the drifting boat. He had become entangled in a rope attached to the vessel’s drifting engine.

BALLYNAHINCH — Job prospects for the unemployed in the Ballynahinch area received a big shot in the arm this week with the opening of a Job Market in the town.

The Job Market is a new concept from the Department of Manpower Services who are anxious to shake off the image of being just something where you sign on for unemployment benefit.

And there can be little doubt at the new Job Market has got off to a good start. Before it officially opened its doors on Monday this week, it had several enquiries.

The first day the doors were opened in the High Street premises, the staff were inundated, with with over 70 enquiries, ranging from those seeking information to those looking guidance on choosing a career.

Mr Brian Owens is the supervisor and his responsibility is to ensure the smooth day to day running of the centre. He is backed up by a team of four, including a career’s officer, two employment officers and a receptionist.

The careers officer is Sheila Halstead and she is specialising in helping young people, including school pupils and school leavers up to the age of 18.

The two employment officers are Mrs Marie Cummins and Mrs Maureen Dougherty, while the receptionist is Miss Pauline McLaughlin.

DOWNPATRICK — A group of Downpatrick shopkeepers this week faced up to the grim reality that their businesses are still at the mercy of the town’s notorious ‘flood incidents’.

For the second time this year eight shops 

in Lower Market Street were swamped by flood water on Thursday after a night of torrential rain, which left thousands of pounds worth of damage in its wake. 

Government moves to stop the flooding will not be operation until at least December.

Along those badly hit by Thursday’s flood was Magee’s Sports Shop where £1,500 worth of damage was caused to carpet tiles alone and where large quantities of newly arrived Christmas stock was saturated beyond salvage.

Next door, at Zebedee’s fashion house, the damage to stock was incalculable and included a range of displays being prepared for a top fashion show later that evening.

At the Supreme Stores, the owner, Mr Brendan Rodgers, was left counting the cost of an experience which has recurred almost twice yearly for the past five years. 

His losses included quantities of perishable goods and large stocks of Christmas toys and novelties.

IRA — Down District councillors are to hold a special meeting next Tuesday to discuss an Official Unionist motion, calling for the elimination of the IRA.

The motion has been drawn up under the names of councillors Mr William Finlay, Mr William Brown, Mrs Ethel Smyth, Mr Sam Osborne, Mr Cecil Maxwell and Mr Norman Bicker.

The wording of the motion is a replica of a number of motions being promoted in councils across the province.

It calls for the elimination of the IRA by “stern security measures and not by political panderings or so-called initiatives”.

The motion also puts forward three proposals for Government action in dealing with the IRA and asks for the wholehearted support of all Northern Ireland MPs to mount a campaign for their implementation in Parliament.

PORTAFERRY — Portaferry and Strangford people don’t need to be reminded about that foggy nights last week when the ferry was forced to be offshore in dense fog for almost an hour.

They couldn’t understand why the boat did not proceed on passage by using radar and other electronic aids to navigation.

Mr Joseph Kirk, Roads Manager and man-in-charge of the ferry service, wants the public to be given the reason.

“Our skippers have been told the rules by the Department of Trade and Industry,” said Mr Kirk. “We are not permitted to take any risks. Radar is regarded as an aid to navigation, and not as a means of piloting the vessel through dense fog.”

NEWCASTLE — Scouting activities in the Newcastle district received a tremendous boost recently when local cub scout packs and venture units cleaned up at the Co Down rally held at Crawfordsburn.

The 2nd Newcastle Cub Scout pack brought home the Dora Baxter Challenge Flag, the 1st Castlewellan cub scout pack were runners-up and the Donard Venture Unit won the Roden Shield.

The leaders of the Newcastle pack are Mrs Connie Bailie, cub scout leader, Miss Mildred Ferguson, assistant cub scout leader, and Mrs Doris Crawford, and they were congratulated by the parents committee at the special meeting on Tuesday night in Newcastle.

The committee congratulates the pack, too, and presented them with chocolate The leaders received silver necklets.

COURT — Thursday’s sitting at Ballynahinch Court was the last in the town, for Ballynahinch cases will now be heard at Downpatrick Courthouse.

The first sitting of the court at Downpatrick will be later this month, but it will still be known as Ballynahinch Court.

Announcing the transfer on Thursday, the RM, Mr John Petrie, said that the court would still sit on the second and fourth of the month, at last in the immediate future.

DOWNPATRICK — The wraps are off the long-awaited Department of Environment proposals for Downpatrick’s town centre.

On Tuesday afternoon Downpatrick councillors were given a private peep at the plans and had informal talks with Divisional Roads manager, Mr Joseph Kirk.

The informal get-together was held at the council officers and, although no details have been given, they represent a major breakthrough in the attempts to provide a plan to ease Downpatrick’s traffic congestion.

The informal private meeting with local councillors was held as preliminary to a full-scale debate with Down District’s 20 councillors and that is expected now to take place within the next fortnight.