From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 5, 1992

From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 5, 1992

3 August 2022

CASTLEWELLAN – The people of Castlewellan and district united in force to show their total opposition of the plans to strip Downpatrick of its acute hospital services.

An estimated 1,500 people packed the town’s Upper Square on Monday night for the second in the series of protest rallies organised by the health service trade unions.

Delighted CoHSE official, Mr Raymond Blaney, congratulated them on their “magnificent turn-out” before launching a stinging attack on the Eastern Health Board.

Urging people to lobby Board members at their next meeting, Mr Blaney said he attended the last meeting when the decision was taken to close Mourne House nursing home in Newcastle.

“It was like the Muppet Show. There were ten people present. Five were Board officers and the other five had been chosen by the Minister on their ability to say yes rather than no. It is a  totally undemocratic organisation,” he alleged.

Amidst loud cheers, Mr Blaney went on: ”There is no real democracy in this country. The only democracy is the people standing in this square tonight and the other people who will fight the closure of our hospitals.”

It was a rousing end of a rally which had begun on a much gentler note. Castlewellan at 7pm was like any other small town on a Monday evening – quiet. The only indication of things to come was the arrival of the Downpatrick Hospitals Pipe Band.

Twenty minutes later, the mood had quickly changed. As the band tuned up, hundreds of people, young and old, began making their way along the Dublin Road for the start of the parade which preceded the rally.

If they needed to be told why the hospitals are so important, they were soon left in no doubt by an array of speakers who were visibly impressed by the large attendance.

DOWNPATRICK – Crowds of up to 7,000 people are expected in Downpatrick when the Ancient Order of Hibernians stages it annual August 15 parade in the town.

The event, which is rotated throughout venues in the North, is being held in Downpatrick for the first time in more than thirty years.

Organised by the Down County Board of the AOH, the parade will be attended by at least 40 bands and a large contingent of Hibernians.

Bands from Armagh, Antrim, Down and South Derry are expected to turn out for the procession, which will form up at the Downshire Hospital at 2.30 pm on August 15.

The parade route will take bandsmen and marchers along Edward Street, Irish Street and Market Street before finishing in Dunleath Park.

Parade organisers finalised the route with the RUC after alterations were suggested to allow traffic through the town to attend a motorcycle race meeting at Bishopscourt which falls on the same day.

The AOH parade was last held in Downpatrick in 1961 and organisers say that they hope its return this year “will bring a colourful” festival atmosphere to the town.” 

KILLYLEAGH – A tourist guide to Killyleagh has had to be reprinted after it was sold out within three weeks.

The tourist guide, compiled by the town’s Development Committee, has proved to be a major success resulting in a doubling of the print run.

In addition to the 50p guide which includes articles on some of the figures from the past associated with the town, the committee has also printed 1,000 leaflets which are being distributed free with the assistance of Down District Council to encourage visitors to the town.

A spokesman for the group said: “The response to the booklet has been quite phenomenal. We thought we had printed enough to last the entire summer but have had to order a reprint after three weeks. 

“The encouraging factor is that many visitors are coming to the town as a result of the initiative. It gives something to build on for the future.”

BALLYNAHINCH - The Housing Executive has incurred the wrath of residents of a Ballynahinch housing estate by their refusal to accept responsibility for the weeding out of a green on the estate.

The dispute developed after the Housing Executive had used the green at Windmill Gardens to accommodate tenants in mobile homes, while renovations were carried out on several houses in the area.

Since the work has finished and the mobiles have been removed, no attempt has been made by the Executive to leave the green as they found it, with the result that a bed of noxious weeds as high as 18 inches has grown.

The chairman of the newly formed Windmill Gardens and Hillfoot Residents Association, Mr Gerry Walsh, has expressed his outrage at the neglect shown by the Housing Executive.

“Apart from being unsightly looking these weeds can be very dangerous and it is a violation of law for those responsible to stand by and let them grow,” he said.

“Our association was set up with the sole purpose of keeping this estate tidy and up until now we have succeeded in that. This green was perfectly kept until the Housing Executive moved in and the responsibility for restoring it lies totally with them.

ANNACLOY – Annacloy father and son, Hugh and William King, make no secret of their admiration for Texel sheep.

Sheep form the major money earner on their family farm and for seven years Texel rams have been run with a  flock of Suffolk Cheviot crossbred ewes.

Since the closure of Downpatrick Mart, William has been selling lambs in Newtownards. But he’s now joining Strangford Down Lamb Producers’ Group, a co-operatives with more than 90 members under contract to Foyle Meats, of Londonderry, which in turn supplies lamb to some of the top supermarket chains in Holland, Germany and France.

“Selling through a mart means most of a day away, whereas group members simply leave their lambs at a collection point near Saintfield once a week before 7am. The rest of the day is free,” William explained.

“Selling Texel lambs at the mart has worked well as we are usually in the top ten prices, but group members using Texel breeding in the flocks seem to do even better most of the time.

Texel lambs grade very well at the meat plant as they do not get over-fat and have great conformation,” he continued.

“Unlike some other continental breeds, the Texel comes from Holland which has a climate just as cold and wet as ours, so it has a wool covering at birth to enable it to survive and thrive.

DRUMANESS  – Drumaness Mills proudly opened their new ground and facilities amid a day of excitement on Saturday.

Mr Sam Osborne, chairman of Down District Council officially opened Meadowvale, the new home of the Mills.

“It’s memorable day in the history of the Drumaness club,” said Mr Osborne. Over the years the club has enjoyed a lot of success in various competitions and no doubt those occasions have been recorded in many peoples minds.”

“Today the club hasn’t won a competition, but have achieved its greatest success to date.”

“Down Council has had a long, working association with Drumaness Mills FC. It has been a positive and friendly association with mutual support and I count it an honour to be able to open these splendid new facilities.”

Club chairman Mr George Gillespie thanked all who helped in anyway with the work on the facilities.

“Over the past thirty years every single person in Drumaness village has given us support and it’s something the club is proud of,” said Mr Gillespie.

“Drumaness has a close-knit community but without its help and support we would not be here today,” he added.

Club secretary Mr Noel Hanna said: “It’s a great day for the club and we can only thank all who helped in anyway down through the years to make the club what is today.”