Visitors to Dungannon looking to the town’s skyline might grow to sympathise with Winston Churchill’s oft-quoted words on the ‘dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone’.
The disparaging comment was made to indicate how little had changed in this corner of the North in spite of the cataclysm of World War I.
Unfortunately, one of Dungannon’s landmark steeples is still living up to Churchill’s criticism, with the clock hands on St Anne’s Church steeple frozen in time sice last year.
Widely regarded as the town’s unofficial timepiece, the clock hands have stopped at shortly before nine o’clock.
The matter was raised during a meeting of Mid Ulster District Council when DUP councillor Clement Cuthbertson said it was time for the council to help the church out.
He explained that while the four-sided clock is owned by the Church of Ireland, it is widely viewed as the town’s timekeeper.
The church wants the local council to help pay for the repair of the timepiece, but there are no local experts capable of carrying out the work.
It is understood the church has booked a specialist to travel from England to the town in hope of bringing the clock back to life.
The DUP councillor added: “That church is open all day, every day and their visitor book shows that they get more callers there than the council’s own facilities.
“In October last year they had someone from England to service it, but then when he died the clock stopped working.
“It was working perfectly well until then, so it’s a bit ironic.”
“It’s strange that no one here can do it. I’ve searched for different firms in Northern Ireland who work with grandfather clocks, but no one on their websites say they can service church clocks,” the councillor added.
“It’s a great feature in the town that we have and we want to get it working.
“We hope to see it up and running in the next few weeks.”
The last time the clock was repaired, it cost between £500 and £1,000.
During the council meeting it was agreed that it would look into what assistance could be offered to help the church with the clock repairs.