So it appears that after a proud, and long established history of shipbuilding, ranging from cruise liners to aircraft carriers, and cargo vessels to car ferries, including car ramps and cranes, the days of Harland & Wolff as a shipbuilder are sadly coming to a close.
I was fortunate to have served my apprenticeship in Harland & Wolff as a marine fitter in the 1950s, hence I feel I must express my thanks and gratitude to the now deceased journeymen, who shared with me the professional expertise of their trade.
I benefitted from not only enjoying their guidance, and social companionship, but it enabled me to have a very successful life as C. Eng. F.I. Mar. Eng. (Chartered engineer, Fellow of the Institute Marine Engineers).
Today the very name of Harland & Wolff gives an internationally recognised identity, to not only shipbuilding but also the people of Belfast and Northern Ireland, whom I believe are globally renowned for their friendliness and for their hospitality.
However, I do acknowledge, that years ago Northern Ireland experienced a difficult period of social unrest, so I wish to put it on record that during my five year apprenticeship period in Harland & Wolff, I personally never experienced (nor do I know of anyone else) anyone who had anything unkind to say of their fellow employee.
I now trust that our local political establishment will work with the British government and leave no stone unturned to find a solution for the present loyal workforce, who now perhaps face the most difficult period of their life.
Harry Stephenson, Kircubbin