Looking back... Councillors banned from growing spuds

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A Ballyclare councillor banned from growing potatoes in 1959 vowed to grow rhubarb instead.

Councillors George Herron and Charles McAuley were prevented from growing potatoes by the Ministry of Agriculture until their gardens were free from eelworm which was considered to be “a bigger menace than black scab disease”.

Councillor McAuley said: “My potatoes were a first class crop although I noticed recently that some were affected by a pest.

“When the inspector came round, he had climbed over my garden fence.

“As I am not allowed to grow potatoes, I intend to plant rhubarb which is the only crop allowed in a garden which has been infested.”

Councillor Herron added: “It is a bit of a coincidence that I and Councillor McAuley should have the only gardens in Ballyclare where crops have been infested.”

Town clerk Alexander Gamble said that the ministry could send inspectors round at any time and pointed out that he was not required to ask permission before inspecting people’s gardens or allotments.