Still no home for Portrush clock

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The future of the iconic Portrush railway clock is still uncertain as the council consider where best to relocate the historic timepiece.

A plan was put forward to the Causeway Coast and Glens Council for the clock to be relocated to the Bann Gallery at council headquarters at Cloonavin, Coleraine.

However, some councillors expressed concerns that the Bann Gallery was not the best place to put the historic clock, and further options are now to be explored.

UUP Councillor Norman Hillis said: “Obviously the best place for the railway clock is the railway station but we are probably not in a position to do that at the moment.

“I think there was some discussion some time back that one of the possibilitie,s if we are to get the funds, is that the old railway station might be possibly brought back into use. The key word there is possibly. It is hard to say whether it will or not, but if it did come back into use then obviously that would be the place for it.

“I see the recommendation we have here. I think currently it is residing in a garage which is a bit unfortunate for something of considerable historic significance and memories to do with Portrush.

“It was on display in the railway station for years and years and it was in Barry’s for some years, but I think they have put a new ride in so there is no room anymore.

“Whilst I would much prefer the clock to be in Portrush railway station as a live, operating station, I would propose that we accept the recommendation on a temporary basis. It is better to have it on display than sitting in storage.”

DUP Councillor Frank Campbell had a different view, he said: “I actually think it would be better here than anywhere.”

Mayor, SDLP councillor Maura Hickey added: “Certainly I would agree with Alderman Hillis that the station would be the right place for it, but I am not convinced about Cloonavin. I think the clock would be much more fitting to somewhere older. I think that the Bann Gallery is a very modern, very open, and it is kind of the wrong era for it. Have we explored the town halls?

“I don’t think it is the right space for it. I just can’t see how it will fit into the Bann Gallery,” she said.

The DUP’s George Duddy, who chaired the meeting, said: “I wouldn’t disagree with you that the Bann Gallery is not the right place. Logistically it might be more difficult. It might be a case for our council officers to take a few measurements for us.”

The Mayor added: “I am worried that it might detract from the Bann Gallery rather than add to it.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Cara McShane joked: “We shouldn’t get wound up over it.” She added: “If it was in Barry’s amusements before I think maybe anything goes. I think it is a pleasure and a privilege for us to have it.”

Councillors agreed that further options should be explored before making any decision is made.