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Te Ards in the Seventies

Anger was expressed by residents in the Belfast Road area of Newtownards in mid- February after plans were revealed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to use Kiltonga House as a temporary training school for young offenders, pending the completion of a permanent establishment at Rathgael, outside Bangor, later in the decade. Secretary of State William Whitelaw acceded to a call for a public enquiry from North Down MP Jim Kilfedder, on behalf of the residents.

Plans for a large shopping centre at Circular Road, Newtownards, including some 49 shops and parking spaces for 1,300 vehicles, were passed by the Borough Council on 5 March. Te site was previously occupied by Dickson’s Nurseries.

A second Town ’n’ Country opened its doors to the public in mid-March – the new entertainment venue being located in Cloughey and having the same parent company.

Millisle man Arthur Pack-Beresford refused to pay his colour television licence in March because he objected to the content of a BBC programme on the Troubles called Ulster Tribunal. He said it was “a matter of conscience” and started to list the programme’s participants to RM Martin McBirney. His argument was dismissed by Mr McBirney who said it was a court of law and “not an arena for political or public protest.” Te defendant was fined £10.

Te body of a Dundonald man was discovered on a grass verge along the coast road between Portavogie and Ballyhalbert, some 20 miles from his home, on 2 April. It was believed that 28-year-old David Tomas McQueen, from Craigleith Drive in the Ballybeen estate, was last seen alive on Belfast’s Newtownards Road at 10.20pm; his body with a number of bullet injuries was found by a passer-by some 90 minutes later. Mr McQueen, who was a Protestant and unmarried, had worked as a builder’s labourer. Tere were suspicions of loyalist involvement in his murder.

Fire damage estimated at £100,000 was caused to the recently-opened Carnasure House Hotel at Comber on 24 April. Te blaze, thought to have been caused by an electrical fault, destroyed two-thirds of the building. Owner Graham Wright said

restoration work could take up to nine months but they would reopen the hotel. Tis was indeed the case, the premises reopening that November as Te Highwayman.


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