From the pages of the Down Recorder, February 14, 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, February 14, 2001

17 February 2021

NEWCASTLE – Home help services in the Newcastle area require a major cash injection to help address what is being described as a “crisis situation”.

Forty one people are currently on a waiting list for home help services in the resort and local politicians have urged health officials to do everything they can to sort out the problem.

They have promised to do whatever they can do to help and hope the Down Lisburn Trust will also be able to reduce home help waiting lists in Downpatrick and Ballynahinch where a total of 17 people are in need of assistance.

But it is the problem in Newcastle which is causing most concern with Trust officials revealing they require almost £140,000 to reduce the number of people on the waiting list across the area.

And they hope extra finance will be available in the new financial year to tackle a problem in what it regards as the “jewel in the crown” of the range of community services it provides.

DOWNPATRICK – Turning men down is all part of life for Downpatrick’s first ever female driving examiner.

Roma Loughran, who is based at the town’s Cloonagh Road, is the first lady examiner in Northern Ireland and intends to blaze the trail to encourage more women to take up the profession.

And, unlike a number of current driving examiners, Roma is a former driving instructor and understands it can be a very testing time once you get behind the wheel.

Single-handedly, she has also broken one of the last bastions of male supremacy – qualifying them to get behind the wheel on their own car.

As the first ever female examiner for the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency, Roma is taking everything in her stride and local driving instructors are delighted she is in Downpatrick.

SAINTFIELD – Two Saintfield students have been announced joint winners of a human rights competition organised by Amnesty International.

Catherine Woods and Catherine Craig, pupils of Ballynahinch’s Assumption Grammar School, won the prizes for setting out a vision for human rights in Northern Ireland and in the “Right Stuff” competition.

The successful duo beat off competition from hundreds of other young people to claim the prize.

Hundreds of essays, poems, posters and videos produced by all the young people in the competition will now be forwarded to the Human Rights Commission.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Professor Brice Dickson, Monica McWilliams MLA and Cool FM DJ Carolyn Stewart, who formed the judging panel, hope the ideas put forward will influence the final shape of the Bill of Rights proposed for Northern Ireland. 

ARDGLASS – Work is to start shortly on a new picnic area in Ardglass. The new facility is to be provided at the Luke’s Port area of the village and local SDLP councillor Dermot Curran is confident it will be widely used.

He has praised Down Council’s involvement in the project which will also include the old boat house which has been a feature of life in the village for centuries.

Mr Curran, who has been campaigning to have the Luke’s Port area upgraded for over two years, says he is delighted work on the scheme is to start shortly.

“The plans have been drawn up and everything is ready to go,” he said this week.

“The scheme will involve major renovation work and everything should be in place by the summer.”

SAUL – A new cross-community seminar aimed at exploring the mission and heritage of St Patrick is being held in Saul next month.

The initiative at Saul Parish Church, built on the site where St Patrick preached his first sermon in Ireland, is on March 3 and follows the refurbishment of the parish hall.

Young people from local schools and representatives from various community organisations will take part in discussions around the theme of St Patrick’s mission and message.

Mrs Maureen Donnelly, one of the organisers of the event, says the exciting new initiative will focus on prayer and reconciliation in society.

KILLYLEAGH – Three prestige sports cars were extensively damaged during a fire on the outskirts of Killyleagh last week.

The blaze at the garage of a private house at the Crossgar Road broke out shortly after midnight on Friday and the vehicles damaged included a top-of-the-range Porsche, believed to be the only one of its kind in Ireland.

A Subaru Coupe and a Honda NSX were also damaged in the fire which police are currently investigating and believe may be suspicious.

It is understood the combined value of the three vehicles damaged in the fire is in excess of £165,000 and police probing the blaze have issued an appeal for information.

DRUMANESS – Anyone who took to the great outdoors on Monday could have been forgiven for thinking that spring had sprung.

Rising temperatures and clear blue skies encouraged many people into their gardens for the first time this year.

The unseasonal sunshine fooled one tiny creature in Drumaness. A young peacock butterfly, which normally migrates to the province from mainland Europe in early summer, has blossomed to life months before it was due to emerge from hibernation.

The butterfly was discovered in a greenhouse in the grounds of a nursery in Drumaness.

Greenhouse owner, Brian Woodall, said the bright butterfly was either prematurely encouraged from hibernation or from its cocoon by the weather.

“The butterfly is in perfect condition which makes me think it may have just hatched,” he said.

PORTAFERRY – Just one day could make a difference to the millions in the world who suffer from injustice poverty and natural disasters.

The province’s leading development agency, Trocaire, holds an annual sponsored fast to raise money for the poorest people in the developing world.

Maureen McCarthy, from Portaferry, has been taking part in the fast for three years and is now hoping to beat last year’s total of £280.

Maureen said she participated in the fundraising scheme in a gesture of support to Trocaire who are committed to overcoming poverty and building a better world for their families.

“This is a time of the year for reflection and thinking of others, especially at the minute when there is such suffering in El Salvador and India,” she said.

“Last year people throughout Ireland raised a record £860,000 and I hope we can do even better in 2001.”

GAELIC GAMES – Down confirmed their status as one of the favourites to reach the semi-final of the National League with this victory over unbeaten Longford at Pairc Esler, Newry, on Sunday.

Despite losing star midfielder Liam Doyle with a nasty facial injury, which went unpunished by a rather lenient referee, the Mourne men eventually took control and ran out deserved winners.

Down produced a brilliant second half, in particular the final quarter, scoring six unanswered points as they swept aside the challenge of Longford to go top of Division 2.

In a game that produced good football throughout Down despite losing Doyle and also losing their way for a spell, weathered the Longford storm and bounced back to take the points.

RUGBY – Down High School bowed out of the Renault Schools Cup when they were beaten 20-8 by a determined Ballyclare outfit on Saturday morning.

But the Downpatrick school gave their hosts a torrid time and made them work hard for their place in the quarter-finals.

The visitors produced a resolute display and hit everything that moved in the early stages of a gripping encounter.

Down put pressure on Ballyclare from the outset and following a line-out close to the line Neil Davidson stormed over for a brilliant try. 

Ballyclare were visibly stunned by this reversal, but they responded magnificently and when the visitors failed to control a scrum, Richard Bell pounced to level the score with an opportunist try.