Town was a cultural desert

Lurgan was a social and cultural desert in 1977, according to a local community worker.

And he accused locals of having ‘sat on their backsides in front of television and allowed the town’s social life to be killed off.’

He said the root cause of the problem was the continuing loss of the Town Hall facilities. It was being used as the police station at the time.

He said: “It’s time people switched off the TV and started living again.

“Lurgan really is a backwood, it really is dead in every sense of the word.”

Prestige social functions originally lined up for Lurgan were staged in either Armagh or Portadown.

The Lurgan Art Club held their annual exhibition in Armagh.

“We would have liked to have held it locally but there was just nowhere suitable or large enough. Unfortunately few Lurgan people saw the exhibition,” said a spokesman.

Lurgan Operatic Society was another example. They had to stage their productions in either Banbridge or Portadown, without much travelling support from the town.

A spokesman for the Craigavon Arts Committee said: “Once people get along to plays and concerts they really enjoy themselves but because they are not being staged in Lurgan people have got out of the habit and are missing out.”