From the pages of the Down Recorder, July 18, 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, July 18, 2001

14 July 2021

DOWNPATRICK – Downpatrick maternity unit has received a ringing endorsement just weeks after an independent review recommended it be downgraded.

The local unit was listed in the top three maternity hospitals in Northern Ireland in a study published in the Sunday Times at the weekend.

The Downpatrick Maternity came behind the Royal Maternity Hospital and Altnagelvin Area Hospital which were first and second respectively.

The report comes on the heels of a review, led by former ombudsman Dr Maurice Hayes, recommending the withdrawal of inpatient services from the Downpatrick Maternity. Among the areas taken into account in the Sunday Times study were the midwife to patient ratio, the rate of intervention and the number of caesarean births.

With 500 births at the Downpatrick hospital from February 2000 to March 2001, each midwife attended 22 births on average, which is the Province’s average.

The report also revealed the lowest rate of caesarean births in Downpatrick (14.5 per cent) and only 10 per cent of emergency caesarean births compared to the average 13 per cent.

The rate of intervention in births at the Downpatrick Maternity was also relatively low with an epidural rate of six per cent, compared to 60 per cent at the Royal Hospital in Belfast and 58 per cent at the Craigavon Area and Ulster hospitals.

Obstetric forceps were only used in one per cent of births, while the penthouse suction procedure was used in seven per cent, which is one per cent above average.

The success of the local maternity in the report was welcomed by senior manager of clinical and midwifery services, Rosie Hood, who pointed out that 96 per cent rate of women who gave birth in the hospital last year were satisfied with the service.

KILLYLEAGH – The first phase of a major development programme is about to get underway at Killyleagh YC.

The Amateur League football champions have earmarked £70,000 for new changing rooms and shower facilities. More improvements are in the pipeline and will make Killyleagh the envy of even some clubs in the Irish League.

Work on phase one is expected to begin in six weeks’ time, subject to planning approval.

The club has received a £60,000 grant from the Lottery Fund and a further £15,000 from Down Council. It is hoped that these two grants should cover the initial costs of the first phase of work.

Two new changing rooms with showers, a referee’s room and disabled facilities will be built alongside the existing facilities to bring the club into line with the stringent rules and regulations as laid down by the IFA.

The club is also now assured of maintaining its tenure in the Amateur League’s top flight following a scare about the failure of their existing changing rooms to meet with IFA standards.

Killyleagh YC manager Dee Heron is delighted and can’t wait for the work to start.

BRYANSFORD – A mobile telephone company has confirmed that it will continue to seek a site for an 80-feet mast in the Bryansford area, just days after plans to erect a mast in Moneyscalp forest were thwarted.

One to One Communications Ltd has come up against vast local opposition since its intention to erect a mast in the area was made public last month.

And, following a high profile campaign by local residents and councillors, the Department of Agriculture and Regional Development has confirmed it will not make its land available to One to One because of public opposition.

The Department’s rejection of the scheme comes just weeks after dozens of people from the area came together to voice their opposition to the planning application for the Moneyscalp mast which was submitted to the Downpatrick Planning Office earlier this month.

Although Moneyscalp may no longer be an option for the telephone company, a representative from One to One Communications said the firm would continue to look for an alternative local site for the equipment.

BALLYNAHINCH – A Ballynahinch bank was the latest to be targeted by armed robbers last week.

Three robbers, two armed with handguns, held up staff after bursting into the First Trust Bank in High Street shortly after 3.35pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Last week’s hold-up is the fifth bank robbery in recent months.

Just two weeks ago the Castlewellan branch of the Ulster Bank was targeted and the nearby branch of the First Trust Bank has been robbed three times in recent months.

Outlining details of the robbery, a police spokesman explained that the three men, none of whom were masked, burst into the bank dressed in denim jackets, jeans and hats.

One man was over six feet tall, of a heavy build and with ginger stubble, while the second robber was around 5’8” tall and thin. The third man was also around six feet tall and was described as being “well built”.

During the incident, one of the robbers stayed at the front door of the premises and kept watch while the other two jumped over the counter and demanded money, which is believed to have been a four figure sum.

The money was then placed in plastic bags and the three men ran off to nearby laneway. Officers believe they escaped in a blue Vauxhall Cavalier car and vehicle matching this deion was later found abandoned on the Lougherne Road in Hillsborough.

COMBER – Comber residents have claimed victory over BT Cellnet plans to erect a telecommunications mast opposite a local primary school.

The expanding mobile phone company had originally planned to locate a telecommunication mast close to St Mary’s Primary School at Killinchy Street, but strong public opposition was led to the company withdrawing it’s plans.

News of the retraction comes amid heightened public disapproval at the number of telecommunication masts being erected close to schools and homes throughout the district.

Local Assemblyman, Kieran McCarthy, said it is imperative that masts are kept away from schools and built up areas because of health risks.

He added that he was extremely pleased with BT Cellnet’s decision to look for a more suitable site to erect a mast instead of next to the primary school.

INCH – Horrifying news of an imminent Viking raid at Inch has roused terror amongst local people.

Pseudo-plunderers are preparing to storm into Inch at Downpatrick on Saturday, August 4, brandishing their swords ready for bloody battle.

But the Vikings preparing to land at the local bay are guaranteed to provoke more fun than fear, unlike their blood thirsty ancestors.

Next month Down District marks one of the last great Viking expeditions to Ireland with a spectacular Magnus Barelegs Viking Festival that recaptures, almost one millennium later, an historic Viking raid.

Running from Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5, the festival programme is packed with fantastic entertainment for the whole family culminating on Saturday in the large-scale re-enactment of the Viking invasion at Inch.

MOURNES – Newcastle, Castlewellan and Dundrum could benefit from a major new initiative to promote rural tourism.

The multi-million pound Natural Resource Rural Tourism Initiative has been established to direct European peace money towards five of Northern Ireland’s most scenic areas.

The Mournes is one of the targeted areas which could receive at least £3m towards creating employment opportunities in tourism through previously untapped cultural and natural resources.

A total of £15m has been set aside across Northern Ireland for the initiative which can provide grants of between 50 and 100 per cent for projects which fit the criteria.

The Initiative is in the early stages of implementation with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which will administer the project, presently looking for groups to administer the money.