SHARED HISTORY: SHARED FUTURE

Shared History: Shared Future Launch

Shared History: Shared Future Launch

“Shared History: Shared Future” brings together six historical, literary and regeneration groups from South Tyrone in a cross-community project delivered by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council through the Peace III phase 2 programme financed by the European Union.  It was launched at the Hill of the O’Neill and Ranfurly House Visitor Centre in Dungannon by the Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone, Councillor Phelim Gildernew. Brian Lambkin, Director of The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, was the guest speaker.

 Mr Lambkin gave an informative talk on comparative local history: what do we tell the children? He spoke about the significance of townlands, the smallest unit in civil administration, and said they were the key to a better understanding of any local area. He hoped there would be a synergy between the various groups and that their projects would have a wider value in the areas of tourism and genealogy.

 The Shared History Shared Future Project is funded through the European Union’s Peace & Reconciliation Fund and delivered by the South West Peace Cluster and Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council. The project was awarded over £25,000 to develop an interlinked schedule of activities over the coming months. It promises to be a very interesting and informative project which encapsulates figures of literary importance such as William Carleton right through to the social history of local engineering and entrepreneurship of John Finlay and Sylvester Mallon, pioneers in quarry engineering to exploring the history of our waterways and townlands.

The project is made up of six societies who have come together to share with each other and with the wider community an awareness of their own fields of expertise and use it towards a shared understanding of our history and future. The groups are:-

O’Neill Country  Historical Society;

Caledon Regeneration Partnership;

William Carleton Society;

Donaghmore Historical Society;

Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society;

South Lough Neagh Regeneration Association.

During the evening, each group gave an overview of their origins and the focus of previous work. While maintaining the individuality of each of their projects all agree that the contribution to  this project enhances and increases awareness of who they are and what they are about.

Brian Lambkin & O'Neill Country Historical Society

Brian Lambkin & O’Neill Country Historical Society

The O’Neill Country Historical Society, represented by Art Daly from Benburb, was established in 1985. Their aim is to research, record and publish the history of the area along the valley of the River Blackwater straddling the border between counties Armagh and Tyrone. The group promote knowledge and understanding of this area’s heritage and folklore through publications, lectures and seminars and interact with other local historical groups and bodies with a view to promoting interest in our history.

Caledon Regeneration Partnership was established in 1996 and comprises representation from the local community, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and Caledon Estates Company.  William Beattie outlined how the Partnership actively promote the conservation and protection of the built and natural heritage of the area and have undertaken a number of major restoration projects within Caledon Village. The restoration of the Caledon Beam Engine Complex is currently underway.  Caledon Regeneration Partnership are actively involved in a number of community projects. Caledon Village Allotments were opened in 2011. Chairman Jim Brady said “the Partnership are delighted to join together with like-minded groups across the region in this exploration of our cultural and industrial heritage”.

Pat Boyle & Jim Cavanagh

Pat Boyle & Jim Cavanagh

The William Carleton Society is a cross-community, cross-border group which is dedicated to promoting the works of the well-known Irish author from County Tyrone and his life and times. The Chair, Jim Cavanagh, explained how it seeks to use his stories of faction-fighting and sectarianism in 19th Century Ireland as the basis for talks and discussions on history and literature and the lessons for modern-day society. By discussing issues such as sectarianism the Society hopes to open up a meaningful debate and an educative process around this issue, which is still relevant to the current situation in Northern Ireland. Its main event is a four-day annual international summer school in Clogher in the first week of August . This year’s is the 22nd since its inception in 1992.

The Society will be organising a cross-community concert in Fivemiletown Methodist Hall with the Murley Silver Band and Monaghan Gospel Choir on Wednesday August 7th. On the previous evening, August 6th, there will be a cross-community walk “in the footsteps of Carleton”, followed by music from the diferent traditions. There will also be a series of talks in the coming months including one by Dr Paddy Fitzgerald on the “Ulster English” and two others given by members of the Society about Carleton and the Clogher Valley area. Although Carleton grew up in the Clogher area and one of the places he lived at Springtown still survives, “Carleton’s Cottage”, he spent most of his life in Dublin, where he changed his religion to Anglicanism. In January, members of the Society in Tyrone held a study trip to Dublin to visit Sandford Church of Ireland in Ranelagh, where he worshipped. They also visited his grave at Mount Jerome cemetery, where Precentor Noel Regan from St Macartan’s Cathedral in Clogher led a prayer and summer school director Michael Fisher laid flowers to mark the 144th anniversary of his death.

Donaghmore Historical Society’s Townlands project is dedicated to the importance of these geographical divisions of land that have existed for thousands of years, long before towns and villages developed. They are a most important element of our heritage. Since the Post Office ceased using town lands in the early 1970s and introduced road names instead, there has been a steady decline in the awareness of our town lands by all of us but more especially by the younger generations. Members of Donaghmore Historical Society intend to study a number of townlands in the parish of Donaghmore to find things like the acreage, the meaning of the name and any other features of interest and to chart the changes that have taken place in them over the past two hundred years.

Patricia Bogue outlined how they intend to research all available records of the people who lived in the townlands and to record all their findings in book form. The aim of the publication will be to help genealogists and family history researchers seeking information about the many emigrants from the parish, living in all parts of the world. To help raise awareness of townlands in the new generations, the group also intend to involve schools from the parish in the project.

Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society described how it was formed in March 2009 from the coming together of people throughout the areas of Killeeshil and Clonaneese, Co. Tyrone who have a keen interest in local history. Richard Knox said the Society’s aims are to broaden the knowledge of the area’s long and wonderful history and to provide a mechanism whereby local people and those from further afield can access this knowledge through literature, talks & events and the internet.

The Society is keen to promote the fact that the area has a rich shared history which should be enjoyed by everyone and as such the Society’s ethos is cross-community. If you would like to become a member of the Society please contact the Secretary or come along to the various events they will be holding in the coming months through the Shared History Shared Future Project.

Six Groups in Shared History Project

Six Groups in Shared History Project

Like the other five members in the project, the South Lough Neagh Regeneration Association is a voluntary cross-community group. It aims to attract and encourage investment in the economic, social and environmental well-being of the southern shores of Lough Neagh; to generate activity, employment, enthusiasm and pride in the community. They are interested in the area of the “Derrys”: covering Derrymacash, Derryadd, Derrytrasna, Derryinver, Derrylard, The Birches, Maghery, Derryloughan and Derrytresk.

Local historian Tommy Glenny told the launch that the group plans to make a video about the walkways of the defunct Ulster Canal, which once played an important role in transportation in the area. There are plans by Waterways Ireland to restore part of the canal, which linked Lough Neagh through Monaghan and Clones with Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, as part of a tourism project. The group takes a special interest in the stretch between Maghery and Benburb and will be holding events in May on the old canal towpath.

DSTBC LogoThe PEACE III Programme is part-funded by the European Union (€225 million from the EU with further national contributions of €108 million) through its Structural Funds Programme. The four Councils of Cookstown, Dungannon and South Tyrone, Fermanagh and Magherafelt came together to manage the PEACE III Programme for Measure 1.1 – ‘Building Positive Relations at a Local Level’ across the four Council areas. This area is referred to as the South West Cluster. The full title of the PEACE III Programme is the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. The programme is available in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of the Republic of Ireland and covers the period 2007-2013.

The four Councils of the South West Cluster were allocated a budget of £3,461,440 for Phase I of the PEACE III Programme (2007-2010) and a further allocation of £3,461,743 has been awarded to deliver Phase II of the Programme for the period 2011-2013. The Phase II Action Plan has been developed after extensive consultation with local stakeholders and analysis of the needs of communities across the the South West Cluster.    erdfimages

PRICE OF FOOTBALL

                 Olympic Stadium 2012

Economically, it (English football) is heading for a big fall“. I agree. I paid £19 to see Dagenham & Redbridge v AFC Wimbledon on Saturday. Worth the pleasure of watching the Dons come away with three points. If West Ham ever get to the Olympic Stadium, in my view it will be the ruination of the club, not to mention Leyton Orient. I was in a pub in Dagenham on Saturday that had a picture of Bobby Moore on the wall and a West Ham/England flag in front of one of the televisions. The landlord told me he thought the Hammers had done a deal and I think this is the news he was referring to: “Long Olympic Stadium wait almost over for West Ham after ‘positive’ talks, says  Mayor (of London)”, an article in the Daily Mail. However the news in the Guardian two days earlier had been less positive: “West Ham’s move to Olympic Stadium stalls again over approval process“. All this coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the death from cancer of former Hammers and England captain, Bobby Moore.

Bobby Moore Statue, Upton Park Bobby Moore Statue, Upton Park

This England

The BBC Sport Price of Football 2012 survey makes interesting, eyebrow-raising and depressing reading, and confirms what fans have long known, anecdotally, that it now costs an arm, a leg and an internal organ to attend a football match. I stopped seeing the team I’ve supported since childhood two seasons ago, due to the sheer cost in money and time going to their matches. As an exile from the club’s town I had to travel to see them, up to 200 miles round trip for a ‘home’ game and perhaps 50-100 miles for away games nearer to where I lived. So that’s many gallons of petrol and hours of travel time, but at least the match tickets weren’t too pricey. No longer – I would now have to pay a minimum of £25 to watch 90 minutes of mediocre Division 2 (Championship my arse) football, during which time I have…

View original post 1,335 more words

KILBURN

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick

The statue of Saint Patrick at the Sacred Heart Church in Kilburn, London, stands as a reminder of the large Irish community who used to worship here. The chapel at Quex Road was built in 1878/9 and there had been an Irish presence in the area since 1841. In the 1950s and 60s there was an influx of Irish labourers as the suburb was redeveloped, and it became known as Ireland’s 33rd county. But the Irish nature of the parish has now diminished, following the arrival of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.

The parish is run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) and the parish priest is from Waterford. But his assistants are from areas as diverse as Sri Lanka, the Congo and the Philippines, along with one local man from Willesden, who was ordained in Ireland.

Sacred Heart Church, Kilburn

Sacred Heart Church, Kilburn

The priest from the Congo said the Mass I was at on Sunday morning. The three servers he had on the altar (two of them girls) were coloured and I noticed only a few people in the congregation who seemed to be Irish or were of Irish extraction. But on Sunday March 17th there will be celebrations for the feast of St Patrick.

Irish Papers

Irish Papers

Go out onto the nearby Kilburn High Road and you will still see an Irish influence. Not far from the former State cinema that once house the National Ballroom, I came across a newsagents shop, with a wide selection of Irish provincial newspapers for sale. The last time I saw such a selection was in Easons in Dublin. I was disappointed that among the papers missing were the Northern Standard (Monaghan), the Anglo-Celt (Cavan) and the (Carlow) Nationalist and Leinster Times.  But I’m sure if you went in and asked for any of the other titles, the newsagent would probably order them for you.

Many of the Irish emigrants who came to London never got the chance to return home. There are still some who are living on their own, who were never married and who have lost touch with Ireland. To provide accommodation for them, the Irish Centre Housing (ICH) group has developed a new hostel, close to the Sacred Heart church.

Conway House

Conway House

Conway House was originally the site of a nursing home, acquired from the Sisters of Hope in 1973. The new building costing £4 million contains 60 en-suite rooms for single people. There is an annexe with six flats for renting for family acommodation. The first new residents moved in two months ago at the start of December.  ICH provides accommodation and support for the homeless and those with alcohol, drug and mental health issues, as well as affordable housing for those on local authority waiting lists. The development was financed through Clydesdale Bank and was carried out in association with the London Borough of Camden’s Hostels Pathway project.

EASTENDERS

St Peter's & St Paul's Church, Dagenham

St Peter’s & St Paul’s Church, Dagenham

At the heart of any English village you will usually find the Anglican parish church. When I visited Dagenham at the weekend, I did not expect to find much evidence of the past. Yet there is evidence of history around, if you know where to find it. Growing up in Wimbledon, this part of London was a place I only knew as the other end of the District Line close to Upminster. Having set off from Dagenham East underground station I consulted a map and discovered that nestled among the busy main roads, there is a green area marked Dagenham Village, dominated by St Peter and St Paul’s Church.

The parish church is of medieval origins, first mentioned in 1205 and rebuilt in 1800. The building and surrounding churchyard has associations with local families and various famous people. Another building preserved is the former Vicarage, dating from the 17th Century and remodelled in the 19th Century. Close by is the Cross Keys Inn public house, a 15th Century timber-framed hall house which was once a tannery. A former bank and an old national school are among the other buildings which survived redevelopment.

Cross Keys Inn and War Memorial

Cross Keys Inn and War Memorial

The area was once largely rural, a village in Essex first mentioned in a charter of 687. But in 1919 London County Council started planning an expansion of housing and in the next 19 years over 25,000 houses were provided for working class families on the Becontree estate.

In 1972 there was a large-scale demolition of properties in the village as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. This led to the development of the Ibscott Close housing estate, bordering the heart of the old village. The development included the creation of a more open space aspect to the church, two new shopping parades, three car parking areas, and new housing. This effectively destroyed the historic integrity and structure of the village, reducing it to a few key components. Dagenham Village Conservation Area Appraisal, September 2009, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.

Millennium Green Plaque

Millennium Green Plaque

Walking through the graveyard you will find the last resting places of some interesting people, inclding the parents of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, who opened the redesigned green around the second world war memorial to mark the millenium in 2000. As part of the lottery-funded scheme, a flagpole was erected and the union flag is flown. I also spotted the grave of a World War 1 serviceman and also one of a local man who died in an accident as he crossed the newly-opened London to Southend railway line.

When Dagenham expanded, it was also necessary to create employment for the workers. The first big factory was opened by the Ford Motor Company in 1931 when an AA light truck rolled off the assembly line. It produced nearly 11 million cars until vehicle production ceased in 2002. At one stage 40,000 people worked there but now the total is one-tenth of that figure and the plant specialises in making diesel engines. It was announced last year that 1,000 jobs were to go at the stamping plant in Dagenham, according to the GMB union.

Sanofi Plant, Dagenham

Sanofi Plant, Dagenham

There was further evidence of changing times when I passed the entrance to the huge Sanofi plant close to Dagenham & Redbridge FC. It was announced in November 2009 that the facility would close some time this year with the loss of 450 jobs because  a continued strong decline in demand for its drugs was making the site “economically unsustainable”. Sanofi is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. It hopes to invest in a major regeneration project, with the potential of creating 2500 jobs. Planning permission for the overhaul of the site includes building a new supermarket, hotel and manufacturing operations while using existing buildings for a health and dental care centre and retaining existing laboratories and scientific manufacturing facilities, with the intention of attracting other technology companies to take them over (The Manufacturer).

An interesting sidebar: The film “Made in Dagenham” which deals with the Ford motor company female sewing machinists’ strike in 1968 over equal pay is being shown on BBC2 on Saturday 9th March at 9:00pm. For the first time for a BBC film, there will be a live tweet-a-long commentary from director Nigel Cole and composer David Arnold, who will give audiences a unique insight into the production process. If you wish to join the conversation on the night, follow the hashtag #bbc2mid.

DONS DELIVER IN DAGGERS’ DEN

Home of the Daggers

Home of the Daggers

A weekend visit to London gave me the opportunity to see a part of it I had never seen before: Dagenham. Once it was a village in Essex and I manged to find the original village green around the Anglican church. It’s quite close to Dagenham East tube station, which in turn is only a short hop from West Ham. So it’s not surprising that in the pub, I saw a West Ham flag and a picture of Bobby Moore on the wall. I was there to see the local football team play Dagenham & Redbridge in league 2 against AFC Wimbledon. Known as the Daggers, the club was formed in 1992 when two sides merged. Their ground at Victoria Road opened in 1955, where Dagenham FC played.

The Traditional Builders & Contractors Ltd Stand at the West end of the ground is for the awy fans and was built during the close season of 2009. It has a capacity of 1,240 and is all-seated. Access to this  stand is via gates at the far end of the ground from the entrance via Victoria Road. The stand has disabled facilities, and incorporates a bar, snack bar, and new club office and changing facilities. The ground now has a capacity of 6078.

AFC Wimbledon pre-match

AFC Wimbledon pre-match

The players emerge onto the pitch from a tunnel in this stand rather than the old tunnel in the middle of the Carling Stand, on the right of the picture. The floodlights were replaced in summer last year, bringing the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium fully up to the new Football League regulations. The view from the stand was excellent, particularly for any action in the goalmouth, but obviously more difficult to watch anything at the other end of the pitch! It meant that the 873 travelling Dons fand including myself in the crowd of 2265 got an opportunity to greet the team as they finished their pre-match warm-up.

Neil Sullivan AFCW goalkeeper

Neil Sullivan AFCW goalkeeper

One of the biggest cheers was reserved for goalkeeper Neil Sullivan, who kept a clean sheet during the game. The decisive moment came 80 minutes in, when a 19 year-old Parisian recently signed by the Dons on loan from Cardiff City, Kevin Sainte-Luce, struck a beautiful shot through a crowd of players after the Daggers had failed to clear a corner properly. A tense ten minutes of normal time and four additional minutes followed, but the Dons held out for a deserved victory, giving them seven points from their last three matches and lifting them off the bottom of the table.

Overall, there was a very friendly atmosphere at the club, which reminded me a bit of the old Plough Lane ground where Wimbledon FC used to play. The social club (one of the sponsors is a firm of local undertakers!) sold a nice pint of ale from Cornwall and was worth the extra 50p admission for non-members. One other point of interest: I noticed a steward sporting a Southend FC woolly hat, who remarked to a Dons fan that the teams would be meeting each other at their ground next month in a midweek match. So perhaps another short trip via Southend airport (where the service on both days was very good) is on the cards!

EMYVALE QUIZ

Quiz Winners

Quiz Winners

Table quizzes are very popular, especially in the winter. So it proved in Emyvale, County Monaghan, with two contests running side by side in neighbouring pubs. The Blackwater Steelers, a basketball club, were at the Red Boys. Over at the High House, I was asking the questions for the annual quiz run by Emyvale Cycling Club. I had to do some quick thinking when I inadvertently gave away an answer for one of the questions, which was supposed to be “Ash Wednesday”. Not many of the 18 teams were able to guess who Tommy Bowe’s Ulster rugby colleague is who has just received a call-up for the Ireland team against Scotland at out-half: Paddy Jackson. The winners (on table 5) of the E200 prize were a team from Tydavnet, including Alice Daly. Congratulations to them and to all who took part to make it an enjoyable evening. Thanks also to those who supported the raffle by buying tickets or donating prizes.

NAMA LAND

Frank Daly

Frank Daly

Meet one of Northern Ireland’s biggest property owners. Frank Daly is Chairman of the Republic’s National Asset Management Agency. It was set up by the Irish government in December 2009 to deal with 12,000 risky loans in Irish banking arising from the collapse of the property market. Five institutions particpate in the scheme: Allied Irish Banks (trading in the North as First Trust Bank); Bank of Ireland; Anglo Irish Bank (IBRC); Irish Nationwide Building Society; and EBS Building Society, now a subsidiary of AIB.

Mr Daly did not have an up-to-date figure to hand about the value of property securing acquired loans in Northern Ireland now controlled by NAMA. But he quoted a figure of around €1.34 billion, which was the market value of property in November 2009 and represented around 4% of NAMA’s portfolio. He said there had been extensive engagement with the Stormont Executive and that the Agency had developed a very good relationship with the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson.

Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson

When both men met in June last year, more loans must have been transferred to NAMA because it was estimated that their property portfolio in the North was worth over £3 billion. At the time Mr Wilson according to a BBC report stressed the importance of  the Agency’s involvement in Northern Ireland. He said he was pleased with the finance being made available by NAMA for the development and purchase of sites there. He believed it would help to stimulate some much needed activity in the local property and construction markets and that its work was going to be very important for years to come.

NAMA publishes a list of land and properties subject to enforcement action. At the end of last year, it had a total of 143 in every county in Northern Ireland. The list includes (in a random examination) properties in Dungannon and Aughnacloy in Tyrone, Enniskillen and Lisnaskea in Fermanagh, Armagh; Dromore, Banbridge and Newry in County Down, and Coleraine in County Londonderry. In County Antrim, it includes areas such as Lisburn and Belfast, where some pubs are listed as well as the high-rise Windsor House office building.

Mr Daly told a lunch in Dublin organised by the Association of European Journalists that the Agency’s approach is the same on both sides of the border, namely to work with debtors to enhance the value of assets and to keep businesses trading. Its primary commercial objective is to obtain the best achievable return for the Irish taxpayer, he said.

Frank Daly addressing AEJ

Frank Daly addressing AEJ

The bad loan agency has generated sales worth €11 billion since its inception. Mr Daly said the Irish government’s recent decision to liquidate Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) and direct NAMA to acquire the unsold residual element of its loan portfolio would significantly increase the Agency’s workload.“Potentially, depending on the scale of loan transfers, the size of our balance sheet could increase by close to 50 per cent”, he explained. The liquidator has until August to decide what to do with IBRC assets. The overwhelming majority of assets on NAMA’s balance sheet are of a commercial property nature and if the Agency took on the IBRC’s mortgage portfolio, it would be a new departure for them.

The NAMA Chairman said it might be time for some entity at a national level to take a central, co-ordinating, policy development role in relation to the residential property market. He also announced details of their plans to develop new commercial and residential projects as part of a €2 billion investment programme in Ireland, including the development of significant additional office accommodation in the Dublin Docklands. He said the Agency was firmly on target to achieve targets for reducing debts by the end of 2013 by 25% and fully by 2020. The full script of Mr Daly’s speech can be found here on the NAMA website.

Dublin Docklands

Dublin Docklands