Criticism levelled at the driving of cattle through streets of Belfast (1953)
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Mr Stuart described the traffic situation in Ann Street and Victoria Street, with 400 cattle being driven through daily, as “intolerable”.
“Since Ann Street and Victoria Street had become one-way thoroughfares there are four lines of fast-moving traffic in Victoria Street,” said Mr Stuart, “and for long periods of the day – 1½ hours in both the morning and afternoon – there were no policeman on traffic duty at the corner of the two streets.”
He continued: “Just visualise the confusion for pedestrians trying to cross the road. Visitors from the boats have asked me how they can get across the street.”
“And that,” he added, “is the first. impression they get of our city.”
Mr Stuart said he also had information that cattle were coming in from Eire and were being driven to the outskirts, “and this might well continue to Christmas”
He said that he understood also that these cattle would be entering through other parts of the city.
“About three weeks ago,” Mr Stuart went on, “about 400 sheep in one flock went down Ann Street and caused a traffic block from Ann Street to Bridge End and from Cromac Street to Ormeau Avenue.”
“This problem,” said Mr Stuart, “has been with the Corporation for years and it will grow and get worse.
“I have also talked with the police authorities, but they have said they are powerless and that the corporation are responsible.”
He added: “The shipment of sheep within the next few months will be very extensive, and I have been told, and if we are to have a repetition of this, it will be no time before flocks will be moving down Donegall Place.”
The secretary of the Belfast Chamber of Trade, Mr J Little, said that in the last couple of weeks he had noticed cattle passing at “very strange times – about 1pm and 5pm”.
Mr R S C Davison said that they had listened to a very strong case from Mr Stuart and “no stronger than the situation warranted”.
“It was quite true,” he said, “that store cattle are being taken to the outskirts. I have seen droves of them when traffic was at its heaviest.”
He agreed that it was an intolerable situation and the strongest possible action was called for.
Mr Martin Wallace, vice president, who presided, said he had tried in the corporation to get something done about it, but there were a number of problems.
He said: “Reference had been made to cattle from Eire being shipped through Northern Ireland. I understood there is a law that if cattle had travelled a certain distance then they have to be taken out to graze.
“Furthermore, the dockers’ union had to be consulted as to when cargoes could be handled.”
It was decided, on the recommendation of the chairman, to refer the matter to the executive for a recommendation.
Ulster ploughmen for Canada: The News Letter reported that the 1954 international ploughing match was to be held in February at Antrim, “in a field close to Lough Neagh”.
These details were announced, during this week in 1953, by Mr A McFarlane, chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association, at a luncheon given by the association in honour of Mr Robert J Carse, of Moneymore, who was leaving for Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, to represent Northern Ireland in the world ploughing championships.
Mr Carse, it was noted, was the tractor ploughing champion of Northern Ireland and Mr McFarlane said that they hoped he would bring back the premier award, ‘The Golden Plough’.
Mr George Ervine, president and Mr H Jamison, secretary, of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, also joined in the good wishes.
M J B Somerville proposed the health of the Esso Petroleum Company, and Mr M C Higginson replied.
Mr Carse, along with the other competitors, were to be the guest of the CPR at a banquet, and were to receive an official welcome from the Canadian government.
After the contest the competitors were to spend a fortnight visiting farms experimental stations, colleges and factories.
The expenses, noted the News Letter, of the ploughmen to and from Canada was to be paid by the Esso Petroleum Company.