From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 30, 1977

From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 30, 1977

30 August 2017

SHRIGLEY— Fifty people at Shrigley’s tannery complex will lose their jobs between October and Christmas as part of a package to save the Ulster Leather and Atlantic Tanning companies from catastrophe. The package is being accepted by the 235-strong workforce as regrettable but necessary.

The announcement wasn’t totally surprising. For some months the activity of fact-finding missions had caused speculation. Mr Leo McDonough, general manager, made the commercial facts plain. In essence, they had to make changes or die.

Mr McDonough is the Ulster-bred man from the Booth International group who was given the job of putting meat on the skeleton of the former Ulster Chrometanners company. UCT, which employed more than 300 people at one time, went into the receiver’s hands in 1974.

“Quite frankly I feared the worst,” Mr McDonough told a Recorder reporter. “Rather than make a penny we have lost a substantial sum here in the last three years.

“We have worked hellish hard to find a formula which will assure our future and which will satisfy the shareholders and the workers.

“Today there is no double that this place has a future, but all of us from top to bottom will have to put our backs into making the effort.  We must make a product that is more competitive in price and better in every way than they make in Britain.”

He regretted having to part with many people, but hoped that the results of the package would lead to expansion and the re-engagement of those who were to lose their jobs.

CASTLEWELLAN — Detectives are questioning a number of Belfast youths in connection with the mass killing of 200 pheasants in Castlewellan Forest Park.

The slaughter occurred when the vandals broke into the release pens by smashing hoes in the wire. Then, according to police, they set upon the birds with “murderous, indiscriminate savagery”, using stones and sticks.

Some of the birds had their backs and necks broken while others, still alive, had broken legs and other injuries.

The carnage was not detected until the gamekeeper made his rounds just before dusk. He found the dead and dying birds in two of the release pens, although other pheasants in other pens were untouched.

The young pheasants were among a batch of several thousand being reared for a gun club and would not have been ready for release until the end of the month.

BALLYNAHINCH — Ballynahinch garage owner Gerry Rice is preparing himself for the fight of a lifetime, for he intends to take on Enoch Powell at the next Westminster election.

Mr Rice, who has fought a single-handed battle with the authorities for the right of a decent home for his wife and nine children, now plans to mount a one-man fight for the South Down seat.

A man who asserts that he has no time for political parties, Mr Rice intends to stand as an ‘Interdependent.’

He explains: “We are all interdependent, each and everyone of us. At the other end of the scale every country in the world is interdependent, so why should I not stand as an interdependent, especially in the situation which has evolved here in Ulster?”

Mr Rice’s decision to stand for Westminster was stimulated by the problems he has met with the authorities over a building fault at his home in Carlisle Park.

Mr Rice’s home was built without flue liners in the chimneys. This defect caused offensive and dangerous fumes and smoke to enter his home regularly. Mr Rice took his problem to every conceivable authority, but could get no redress for his grievance. Finally he was forced to install expensive central heating and refrain from lighting fires.

“I have heard about so many people’s problems since I have tried to solve my own,” Mr Rice said. “Because of the obvious lack of government service here I have had to go to the bottom in search for help. Now I hope to go to the top.”

How does Mr Rice rate his chances of winning the seat? “My success depends on the people of this town. I want to help them and they to help me — interdependence again.”

PORTAFERRY — Portaferry has joined the growing list of towns menaced by packs of stray dogs. Gangs of homeless mongrels are being seen more and more around the town and are causing alarm among local people who fear that someone is going to be bitten.

Already one woman has broken her leg when she fell trying to get out of the way of a pack of dogs.

Although the local police say they are not unduly alarmed about the dogs, they have lifted over a dozen strays in the past twelve months.

DOWNPATRICK — Although Rea’s Emporium was completed ruined by a fire, its owner, Mr Joe Rea, has vowed that it will be back in business in a very short time.

Between £60,000 and £70,000 worth of stock was destroyed in the fire which police say began in the rear of the premises in St Patrick’s Avenue, Downpatrick.

“I am in my 42nd year here and during that time I have had no trouble whatsoever,” Mr Rea said. “We will be back in business within a very short space of time.”

KILKEEL — The body of missing Irish Guardsman Philip Cunningham, of Kilkeel, was discovered in the depths of a South American jungle.

The 27 year-old Guardsman, who came from Abbey Park, Scrogg Road, went missing during jungle exercises in Belize in July.

Massive air and ground searches failed to discover the missing Guardsman until August 23 when the remains of his body were found in a relatively inaccessible area of primary jungle in the Toledo area of Belize.

The remains were flown to London where Ministry of Defence pathologists are still attempting to access the cause of death.

NEWCASTLE — In spite of rainy weather Friday’s fireworks display in Donard Park in Newcastle was no damp squib. A crowd of around 3,000 turned out to enjoy the two-and-a-half hour show organised by Down Council.

The show began with music provided by Holy Cross Attical Accordian Band and continued with a display of trampolining. A magnificent fireworks display then thrust the park into a shower of light and colour until 10.30pm. The evening’s activities were compered by Mr Bill Caughey.

BOARDMILLS — Huge crowds turned up at Lough Henny, near Boardmills, on Saturday for the Ulster Open Water Skiing Championships, organised by the Meteor Club.

They were well rewarded for their journey. Good weather and conditions and a record entry of 40 competitors produced some of the finest water skiing seen here for some time.

Local girl Rosanna Ballentine continued her run of success in the ladies’s slalom. This was the fifth consecutive year that she has won the event.

CROSSGAR — Two red setters from Crossgar did the double at dog trials in Limerick and Tralee recently. The dogs belong to Mrs Agnes Spratt, of 64 Church Road.

Mrs Spratt’s dogs are well used to winning prizes and this is the first time that they have managed to win top prizes at two top shows in the same week.

DROMARA — Dromara body builder Des Newell has gained another honour. At a contest in a Belfast hotel he claimed the title of Ireland’s most muscular man.

The world’s most muscular man, Walter O’Malley, was one of the judges at the event. Des, who has been the winner of several body building competitions, is a vehicle body builder by trade.

KILLINCHY — Killinchy dog breeder Mr P R Millington certainly wasn’t barking up the wrong tree when he entered the Navan canine club championship. Not only did his dog win top place in the show, but twelve of his relations also carried off top prizes.