Looking back... Purchase of paintings causes controversy

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The purchase of two paintings by Newtownabbey Borough Council at a cost of £700 caused controversy in June 1980.

Both were painted by Jack Packenham. One was entitled “The Bomb Maker”, the other “Let’s not be too hasty”.

Featuring a ventriloquist’s dummy, they were described as “strong simplistic work”, supposedly “symbolic of Ulster’s Troubles”.

Alderman Sidney Cameron said that they were “not worth the money” and there were “enough reminders of the Troubles”.

He suggested that the arts committee should have bought something that were “more pleasant to look at”.

Council officer Paul Yates said the artist was “highly respected” and the paintings had almost doubled in value.