Living History, — June 27, 2009 19:54 — 0 Comments

Dole workers 1960s

I worked in the Civil Service in Belfast for many years. On my return from Belfast I moved back to Creggan and for a year travelled to Newry by bus.  It was a bit strange at first; like being back at school again as the office in John Mitchell Place was on my route to the Abbey. 

After a year I bought a moped and travelled everywhere on that.  Its top speed was 30 mph; it did 120 miles to the gallon and you pedalled it on hills.  I had it for four years and sold it for more than it was worth.  For all its limitations it gave me the freedom of movement I craved.

 

The Government Employment Office in Newry was located then in John Mitchel Place, on a busy main street, directly opposite the gates to the Newry Market and next door to Boyd’s hardware store.  It was an old three storey building with a back yard accessed by a covered passage from the street.  The ground floor comprised the signature section with three town boxes, a fresh claims section and the men’s placing section (in those days the Employment Service was administered by the Ministry).

 

On the second floor were the women’s placing section (ruled over by Miss O’Bierne from Killowen), the Finance Office, the out-office section and the stationery store.  The top floor housed the Insurance Officer (Frank O’Connor from Warrenpoint), the Local Tribunal section, the typists, Rating Section and the Manager’s Office.

 

… more later …

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