16th APRIL 2020 - Page 32



32
FARMFAMILY
FARMWEEK
JANUARY 23 2020
BYGONES
On TV this week
50
YEARS AGO
QUIZ BALL
FORGET Question of Sport or A
League of Their Own – Quiz Ball was
scoring with viewers years before.
Running for
six series
until 1971,
it had top
football
teams from
England and Scotland – made up of
star players and guest fans – take on
each other across the studio oor.
This particular week it was Rangers
v Heart of Midlothian. The Gers
team included players John Greig,
Jim Baxter, David Smith and Bill
Martin, while Hearts elded Donald
Ford, Alan Anderson and Jim
Cruickshank, with David Vine being
the referee.
Among the players and ofcials who
appeared over the years were Ian
Ure, Terry Neill, John Osborne, Jim
Craig, Billy McNeill, Willie Wallace
and Alex Ferguson for Scottish
second division champions Falkirk.
Guests included DJs Jimmy Young,
Pete Murray and Ed ‘Stewpot’
Stewart, actors Gordon Jackson,
John Cairney and Roy Kinnear.
MARTY FELDMAN
FELDMAN, already a successful
comedy actor and writer, was rst
given his own series on the BBC in
1968. Starring alongside him were
Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Junkin and
Roland MacLeod, with the show
going on to win two BAFTA awards.
Most of the material was written
by Feldman himself along with
long-time writing partner
Barry Took, with John
Cleese among the other
contributors. Feldman,
born in London in 1934, put his
success down in part to his unusual
looks. After suffering from thyroid
disease and developing Graves’
ophthalmopathy as a child, he was
left with eyes that protruded and
were misaligned. He once said: “If I
aspired to be Robert Redford, I’d have
my eyes straightened and my nose
xed and end up like every other
lousy actor ... this way I’m a novelty”.
THE DEBBIE REYNOLDS SHOW
THIS was the rst time the
Hollywood lm star had
made a television show
and it came with its own
problems. She played
housewife Debbie Thompson in a
format that rivalled the popular
Here’s Lucy series and employed a
number of the same writers. The
show also featured Don Chastain as
her husband, Patricia Smith, Tom
Bosley and Bobby Riha.
This particular week’s show on BBC
the Radio Times commenting “at
home with the family she delights,
mysties, and maddens ...” The
show was to go to a second series
but this never materialised after
Reynolds objected to makers NBC
selling advertising time to tobacco
companies.
TEETHING TROUBLE
AT NEW MEAT PLANT
R
EPORTS of “chaotic
conditions” at Belfast
Corporation’s new £1½
million meat plant at
Duncrue Pass have been
countered by the city veterinary
department.
Last week there were reports
of cattle having to “stand around
for up to three days before being
slaughtered”, animals being turned
away at the gates and elementary
mistakes being made in the
identication of carcases.
One city esher, a member of the
Northern Ireland Master Butchers’
Association, described the new
plant as a “£1½ million constipated
white elephant” and called for an
immediate public inquiry into the
chaotic conditions at the plant.
He told FarmWeek: “When a plant
this size opens one must, admittedly,
expect some snags. But when cattle
are turned down and the plant
is unable to cope fully with the
butchers’ requirements – in the
off-season at that – then something
is drastically wrong. Unless the
situation improves quickly I can
visualise a shortage of beef.”
Another butcher alleged that
lorries were having to queue for
three hours to unload and that the
plant generally was “all clogged up”.
The workers, he said, did not
CHAOTIC:
Belfast
Corporation’s
new £1½m
meat plant
at Duncrue
Pass. Has
it more that
its fair share
of teething
troubles?
appear to be properly trained for
the job “with all sorts of blunders
cropping up”.
However, it would appear that
the Belfast wholesalers generally,
while not entirely satised with
the present conditions at the plant,
are prepared to “wait and see”. Of
the ve wholesalers contacted by
FarmWeek last week only two would
comment on the position at the
plant.
One wholesaler would go no
further than admit he had difculty
“getting the stuff killed” while
another, Mr J B Megahey, a director
of Lagan Meats Ltd, said that he was
“not completely satised”.
But he added: “There are a lot of
minor problems. But one has got to
bear in mind that, with a plant this
size, some teething troubles are
only to be expected. On the whole
the Corporation deserves some
credit for the way the plant has got
underway.”
Deputy City veterinarian Mr W T
Morrow told FarmWeek that with
a plant of such magnitude it was
inevitable that there would be some
teething troubles. The wholesale
area was not complete due to the
protracted negotiations which the
wholesalers had with the Ministry.
“This delayed the plant
considerably and, in fact, the
wholesale area did not get started
until about a year ago. However, it is
hoped that it will be completed by
June or July.”
The main plant was completed
about the end of September but it
had to start paying for itself from
April 1969.
The Corporation had a
responsibility to the city’s
ratepayers. If the Corporation
had stayed in Stewart Street until
the wholesale premises had been
entirely completed by June 1970, the
costs would have been astronomical.
“This is naturally a difcult period.
It is a very big project and some
teething troubles are, as I have said,
only to be expected. There are the
odd snags with the sophisticated
operations and machinery.
“There are one or two items which
require modication but we hope
these will be ironed out within the
next few weeks.
“In addition to this,” said Mr
Morrow, “it must be remembered
that the entire staff is new to the
plant and there are certain minor
organisational problems which are in
the process of being worked out.”
Labour crisis on the way At the point of revolt?
By Dan McAreavy
N
ORTHERN Ireland
agriculture could well be
facing a critical labour
crisis in the next few years.
The problem is not new. It
has been a growing threat right
through the post-war years. But
has the stage now been reached
when a remedy must be found?
According to recent gures
the number of full-time farm
workers has been halved – from
10,000 to 5,000 – in the past
decade and the “land drain”
continues.
More and more of the
country’s leading herds are
being dispersed simply because
the owners cannot recruit a
suitable labour force while the
pig and egg industries are also
feeling the draught. Agriculture
is, indeed, now a poor second to
industry when today’s worker is
choosing his job.
Mechanisation has off-set the
labour losses but the human
element will always, of course,
remain a key factor in farming.
Farming leaders are
clearly perturbed at current
developments. They are agreed
that the low wages are a serious
deterrent in attracting the right
men.
The fact that farm income
has remained static for so long
militates against improvement.
The point was well made
by Mr J K Lynn, chairman of
the Milk Marketing Board, in
a recent television interview
when he said “something would
have to be done to keep workers
on the land”.
With so much mechanisation,
too, a different type of worker
– a trained technician – is
required. But do the wages and
conditions attract such a man?
Now the whole problem has
been highlighted by Colonel J
M Blakiston-Houston, whose
company – with 50 to 60 men –
is one of the biggest employers
of farm labour in the country.
In a letter last week to
the Minister of Agriculture,
Mr Phelim O’Neill, Colonel
Blakiston-Houston asked that
the whole question of farm
labour should be examined with
special reference to the scarcity
which threatens the industry.
Blakiston-Houston Estate
Company secretary, Mr R
Ramsey, told FarmWeek that
the position was deteriorating
rapidly and was now “a major
headache”.
Said Mr Ramsey: “The
current at rate in Tyrone is
£11 13s (this has now been
recommended to rise to £12-8
by the Agricultural Wages
Board) and clearly the low
wages and conditions are failing
to attract labour.”
WELL DONE: Mr F A
Espley congratulates
Mr Sam Robinson on
becoming Omagh UFU
Branch chairman.
O
MAGH branch of
the Ulster Farmers’
Union has warned
that farmers have reached
the point of possible
revolt “if something
worthwhile does not come
out of the Price Review”.
In a resolution at last
week’s annual meeting the
branch urged the Price
Review team to tackle the
forthcoming negotiations
with all the force they
can muster “now that the
balance of payments seems
so strong”.
“Agriculture could save
£200m on imports if given
the necessary incentives,”
the resolution says.
“The patience of farmers
had been stretched as
far as they are prepared
to go. Year after year the
price review negotiations
have been disappointing
but this kind of treatment
just cannot be allowed to
go on for ever.”
The meeting pledged
complete condence in
the Price Review team.
In the election of ofcers
at which Mr Frank Espley,
union assistant secretary,
presided, Mr Samuel
Robinson was appointed
chairman in succession
to Mr W Colhoun, who
becomes vice-chairman.
Mr Robinson is very
well-known in union
circles, being a member
of the Central Milk
Committee and a member
of the Central Committee
of the Northern Ireland
Ploughing Association.
Other ofcers elected
were – branch secretary,
Mr William Porter;
delegates to the UFU
Council – Messrs Sam
Robinson, James Riddell,
Mervyn Archdale, Carl
Logan and A J Marshall.
Mr Alan Kyle was elected
as the delegate to the
County Committee.

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