From the pages of the Down Recorder, September 4, 1979

From the pages of the Down Recorder, September 4, 1979

4 September 2019

WARRENPOINT — A plea by Official Unionists to adjourn this week’s meeting of Down Council because of the murders at Warrenpoint and Mullaghmore was rejected the SDLP and Alliance members.

The motion to adjourn was defeated by ten votes to six and immediately the Unionists walked out — not in protest but as a gesture of sympathy to those bereaved by the murders.

The motion was introduced by Saintfield councillor, Mr William Finlay, who said he looked back with horror at the murders, the victims including 18 soldiers at Warrenpoint, Lord Mountbatten, his grandson, Nicholas , the Dowager Lady Brabourne, and a 15 year-old boy, Paul Maxwell.

Acting chairman, Mr Paddy O’Donoghue (SDLP) said he would be impartial in the matter and was quite sure they all shared the revulsion, horror and disgust and would like to show their sympathy with those were bereaved “in such a dreadful way”.

He pointed out that there had been two committee meetings of the council since the murders occurred, but since Mr Finlay’s motion was a procedural matter councillors must decide without any debate whether or not they wanted to adjourn the meeting.

He added: “However, whether or not the council decides to adjourn should not be interpreted as to whether or not councillors approve of the vile deeds which have been perpetrated.”

After the vote, in which the SDLP and Alliance members voted against the Unionists, Mr Finlay said he was sorry about the decision which the majority had made.

NEWCASTLE — The fireworks display organised as the climax of the Newcastle summer season did not go down with a bang, but instead fizzled out.

Torrential rain minutes before the fireworks bonanza was due to begin washed the show out and it now seems likely that the display will be held at Halloween at Downpatrick racecourse instead.

Drumgath Accordion Band and Ballykeel Pipe Band were about to march into the arena to put on a marching exhibition when the rain came down.

More than £600 had been spent  on the fireworks, but the rockets, roman candles, catherine wheels, shells, mortars and numerous other favourites were saved from the rain. Disappointed spectators had their money refunded.

The fireworks bonanza, sponsored by Down District Council, was to have marked the end of the Percy French Festival. 

However, the stage will now switch to Downpatrick in October where a successful display was staged last year.

ARDGLASS — Suki, the cat escaped a horrible death at Ardglass harbour recently, has found a new home in Lisburn.

The story about how Suki survived an attempt to have her drowned aroused so much interest that the person who found her, Mrs Joan Owens, was inundated with phone calls to give the cat a home.

Mrs Owens, of Ardgtreenan Crescent, Belfast, accepted the first of more than 50 calls and the cat left for its new home in Dundrod Walk, Lisburn, earlier this week.

“Someone had tried to get rid of the cat,” Mrs Owens explained. “Suki was tied in a paper bag and thrown off the side of the harbour, but instead of hitting the waves she landed in our cabin cruiser, which was anchored.

“When we were taking our boat out of the water for repairs to the hull we came across a torn bag on the deck. Then we heard noises from a cabin — and found Suki mothering three new kittens.

“Unfortunately, we had to have the three kittens put down and Suki neutered. And then when our two tom cats took a dislike to Suki we were forced to appeal for a home for her.”

Mrs Owens added: “The response was overwhelming and the first of many callers took Suki away. My husband, Jim, and I will be returning to our caravan at Ardtole, near Ardglass, this weekend. We hope we don’t find any more animals in distress!”

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick’s new maternity hospital, which is due to replace the Hardy Greer House unit early in the New Year, will not become fully operational until staffing difficulties can be resolved.

It is expected that an advertising campaign is to be mounted shortly for all grades of staff required in the bright, new up-to-date hospital.

The 34-bed unit in the grounds of the Downshire Hospital will require up to 50% more midwifery staff than the 27-bed Hardy Greer House on the Strangford Road, which seems to be permanently under-staffed and struggling along.

The new unit will also accommodate an out-patient centre which will mean the transfer of ante-natal and post-natal work which is currently conducted at Downe Hospital.

The expected completion date for the new building is November. It is already a couple of months behind schedule because of a host of supply difficulties, the cement strike among them.

Once it is handed over it will have to be equipped and sterilised before it can be commissioned.  That could take a couple of months.

BALLYNAHINCH — The September Flower Show organised by the Presbyterian Women’s Association connected to 1st Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church proved to be a huge success.

The Huston Hall was crammed full of baking, handiwork, flowers and vegetables. The judges had a difficult task in deciding who won what.

The standard was again very high in the eight sections with encouraging entries in the bread, cake, jam, handiwork, flowers and vegetable classes. After the judging the various articles were sold at bargain prices, raising almost £200 for church funds.

KILLYLEAGH — Killyleagh artist Leo Casement is making a big name for himself in France. Leo set off for Europe last year after staging a successful one-man exhibition in Downpatrick Library.

Now many of his paintings are finding their way into French homes and the name Leo Casement is appearing in French newspapers.

Leo had originally indicated that he might be returning home at the end of this month, but he has put his travelling boots on again and is in Amsterdam at the moment.

PORTAFERRY — Euro MP John Taylor has joined the fight of Portaferry residents, who are angry about the new sewage works scheme which they say will be pumping untreated sewage into Strangford Lough.

Mr Taylor is to table a question at this month’s meeting of the European Parliament, asking if the scheme is receiving financial backing from the EEC.

Mr Taylor is also demanding to know if the plant would qualify for help from the EEC regional aid fund, if it was modified to include the treatment of sewage.

The Euro MP, who was the site engineer in charge of the storm drainage scheme in Portaferry in the late 1960s and who says he has a good knowledge of the problem encountered by residents, intends bluntly asking if the EEC encourages the disposal of raw effluent into the lough.

KEARNEY — A yacht which was taking part in a race from Bangor to Portpatrick in Scotland struck rocks at Kearney Point on the Ards Peninsula during thick fog at the weekend.

Donaghadee Lifeboat answered the Mayday call and towed the boat and the eight people on board to safety.

Yachtsmen competing in the race, organised 

by Royal Ulster Yacht Club, said that conditions were probably the worst experienced for the event.

The crews found it most difficult with the thick sea mist cutting visibility down to 20 yards at times as rain lashed down. Only a handful of the 29 boats finished the course, which started in Bangor via Strangford to Portpatrick.

PORTAVOGIE — Portavogie fishermen wishing to haul out their boats look like having an easier time in front of them this winter because the NI Fisheries Harbour Authority have ordered a special winch which they hope to have in operation soon.

The winch has been ordered from Butters Cranes, Glasgow, and will be able to handle up to 300 tonnes.