John McCullagh May 18, 2004
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The social and housing conditions of Newry two generations ago could scarcely stand in greater contrast with those conditions of today.

True there is a severe lack of new public stock to meet today’s demand at the cheaper end of the market but private housing developments are springing up everywhere, at the edges of our villages as well as on our surrounding hills.  It is perhaps timely to glimpse the harrowing conditions of deprivation and limited, cramped and dilapidated housing stock of our grandparents, and remind ourselves of how far we have come.

Our next article will look at these factors of post-war Newry.  Dromalane Park – together with The Meadow developing in tandem on the other side of town – was the start of a solution.  The town then had a population of approximately 15,000 [today it’s closer to 28,000] and the waiting list of 1,000 applicants represented more than 3,000 people or 20% of the total population. 

We will look at Dromalane shortly.  None of this however must be interpreted as complacency about today’s changed circumstances.  In our grandparent’s time families were mostly united and cohesive and fiercely defended members.  A homeless problem persists and must be addressed.  Much of it represents the casualties of broken relationships, adults and children alike.  That these same people are massively over-represented in our unemployment and social welfare figures, and suffer disproportionately from today’s worst ‘social diseases’ must be taken as a reason to prioritize possible solutions rather than to reject the sufferers as social outcasts.

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