Blood in Macbeth!

As a direct result of the sheer incompetence of our Council and its hired retainers and officials, the ratepayers of Newry and Mourne paid out several millions of pounds to recover the St Christopher Park site in the Albert Basin …


…. a piece of land that was theirs when they took over (for 1/-, if memory serves me right!) from the old Port and Harbour Trust!

You couldn’t make it up!

They were out-manoeuvred by the NIHE.  Now, in this week’s Newry Reporter I read of the demands of a Newry Councillor of twenty years standing (i.e. one of those centrally responsible) that the NIHE ought to pay a ‘ransom’ for the now disused North Street Flats site by surrendering it to the Council.   Ah, if it were that simple!

Fifty years ago our then Newry Urban Council was concerned, not over wasted millions, but over a few shillings! This is from the papers of that time.

‘By 11 votes to 1 Newry Urban Council adopted a resolution approving the action of the Town Clerk, Mr Gerard Cronin, in refusing the use of the Town Hall to the Newpoint Players.

The resolution states that the letters submitted from Messrs Collins & Collins Solicitors for Newpoint Players be duly noted ( **)  and that we hereby approve and ratify the action of the Town Clerk in refusing the use of the Town Hall building and any part thereof to Newpoint Players.

The crux arose (sic) over a dispute between the Council and Newpoint Players regarding damage to the stage amounting to ten shillings! A letter from the Society’s solicitors read at the last meeting of the Council stated that the Society were considering taking legal action in the High Court but hoped the impasse could be overcome and good relations restored.

“Blood” marks on the stage of the Town Hall after a production of William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ were mentioned when the Council brought a civil bill action against the Society at Newry County Court in March last for 10/- damages for scratches to the polished front of the stage. The case was dismissed.

It was stated that a substance to represent blood had been spilled on the stage floor and the Society had paid 10/- for its removal, but disputed having caused the scratching of the stage.’

( ** )  Bureaucratese for “distainfully and publicly rejected!”

What?   Fake blood?  In a production of ‘Macbeth’ ?  

Never!  Whatever next?

And how, may I enquire, did such a delinquent Society ever regain access to our revered Town Hall ?

And Oh!  How our Councillors are burdened with the weighty affairs of state!

For me, the saddest part is that I remember all of this so well. 

Yes, I am getting old!

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