From the pages of the Down Recorder, November 28, 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, November 28, 2001

24 November 2021

DOWNPATRICK — Angry traders in Downpatrick have this week called for tougher action to be taken against teenagers terrorising local businesses.

They are demanding that the town’s police commanders are provided with additional resources to take the problem and that the courts hand out much stiffer sentences.

Their call comes amid mounting concern about the behaviour of an umber of juveniles who are verbally abusing and intimidating female staff in shops throughout the town and stealing from businesses.

Traders say they are becoming increasingly frustrated that no punitive action is taken against the teenagers when they appear before the courts and that the sentences handed out to them are too light.

The current position is so serious that number of shop owners are locking their doors during opening hours and admitting customers only after a visual check.

One local trader, who did not want to be named, said the teenagers responsible for the trouble were being allowed to intimidate the business community and suggested an exclusion order should be placed on them, banning them from the town.

“These people have no fear and no shame and walk about the town as if they owned the place. While the police could do more, I realise they may not have all the resources they require at their disposal and this situation also has to be addressed,” he declared.

BALLYNAHINCH — All takeaways in Ballynahinch should be close at midnight to cut down on sectarian trouble in the town, according to a local politician.

South Down Assemblyman Jim Wells has called upon Down Council to introduce a blanket closure time on all takeaways claiming that the late opening hours, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, has led to an increase of sectarian trouble in the town.

At a meeting of the Corporate Services Committee last week, Mr Wells claimed that a large number of residents living around Main Street are being wakened in the early hours of the morning by drunken youths hanging about the shops.

He also pointed out that a large number of violent incidents occur in the early hours outside takeaways in the town.

Mr Wells said he received complaints from an 80 year-old woman living close to a takeaway, who is left terrified by drunken shouting at around 4am on a Saturday and Sunday morning.

“I really think it would be a good idea to consider closing these places at midnight. Once people leave the bars they then head over to the takeaways where they hang out until around 4.30am.

“Everyone is usually very drunk and I believe this is leading to a lot of the sectarian trouble in the town. It is completely unfair to any residents living close by who are trying to sleep and are kept awake by drunk people hanging around the streets,” he said.

SEAFORDE — A mother of five feels she has no choice to to move house following plans to erect a telecommunications mast at Seaforde.

Siobhan Devlin recently moved into her home at Dunnanew Road and was horrified to discover that a number of mobile telephone companies are planning to extend an existing mast close to her house to accommodate 11 new antennae.

She is so concerned about the effects the mast could boast to her children’s health she is seriously considering selling her newly build dream house.

Accusing mobile phone companies of being completely undemocratic by putting masts up against the wishes of the local community, she said she cannot understand why a decision was taken to extend a mast so close to a large number of houses.

The Seaforde community is overwhelmingly behind Siobhan and a group of parents, concerned for the health of their children, have written a letter to planners demanding the development is stopped.

She said: “Everyone is completely shocked that such a major proposal has ben put to planners so close to our homes. A large area of residential land will be affected if this plan goes ahead and nobody is happy about it.

“We feel that we are being used as guinea pigs as nobody can tell us they are 100 per cent sure that these masts do not pose any health risks.

“Do planners honestly believe that residents, especially those with young children, will accept this proposal? If the plan goes ahead I really think I will have to move as I do not want my children living so close to that mast.”

KILLOUGH — Plans for the regeneration of Killough were put before Down councillors at a meeting on Monday night.

Representatives from the Palatine Trust met with members of the council’s recreation and technical services committee to give an update on how the regeneration work in the village is developing and discussed future plans for the area.

The council has funded £66,000 towards the refurbishment of the harbour area since the trust was first set up in 1997. Work is currently on going on the restoration of the harbour wall which has suffered from severe erosion.

It is hoped that work on the restoration of the village’s lime kiln, which was badly damaged in a vandalism attack on Halloween Night, will begin early in the New Year.

CROSSGAR — A new book on the history of Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church receives its official launch tomorrow night.

The church recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and the congregation has already staged an exhibition tracing the history of the church, which led to the formation of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.

The book contains a series of articles and photographs, and also relates the events surrounding the foundation of the church in March 1951.

The book has been written written by Miss Sharon Dick and Dr Glynn Moore, who are both members of the congregation.

The authors hope it will be of great interest to local people as it is the first book which records the history of Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church, its witness and its people.

KILLYLEAGH — An outdoor pursuits centre on the shore of Strangford Lough has received a £30,000 boost.

Killyleagh Outdoor Education Centre will use the money to lay the foundations for a centre of excellence for the delivery of the Northern Ireland Youth Service and Schools’ curricula.

The grant is being made by the Rayne Foundation in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.

The Chief Executive of the South Eastern Education and Library Board, Mr Jackie Fitzsimons, welcomed the grant as a tremendous boost for the centre.

“It will help continue the significant role to centre has played in the social and educational development of young people in the Board’s area,” he said.

SAINTFIELD — Children from primary schools in the Saintfield area will be gathering at the town’s Christmas tree next Monday to put the finishing touches to the decorations and officially switch on the festive lights.

The event is a forerunner to the town’s annual Christmas festivities which get underway on December 17 with the traditional Christmas fair. As in previous years Main Street will be a hive of activity and will be closed to traffic as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.

CASTLEWELLAN — Next year’s Castlewellan Show will be bigger and better than ever. That is the promise being made by the organisers, who have vowed to put the disappointment of this year’s cancellation behind them.

The annual July show fell victim to the foot and mouth crisis and while the organisers admit the cancellation was a major disappointment, they aim to make next year’s event the best yet.

The show secretary, Mrs Violet Bell, said the gradual return to normality in Northern Ireland and Britain had been encouraging.