During this week in 1909 the Right Honourable T W Russell, MP, the vice-president of the Department of Agriculture, who had been spending a few days at Portrush received a deputation from the local urban council members and fishermen of the town.
The deputation consisted of Messrs Thomas Bamford, John Hetherington, William Cunningham, who represented the urban council, Thomas Kelly, John Doherty and James Martin.
Representing the town’s fishermen were James Martin and R T Dunseath. The purpose of the meeting was to lobby the minister for funding for a new “fishermen’s harbour” for the town.
Mr Russell told the delegation that he had had an opportunity to inspect the harbour at “different stages of the tide”, and it was in his opinion that they would no doubt have a good case for “substantial assistance” from the Government.
But he told them that the Antrim County Council were “anxious” that the island of Rathlin should have a harbour built at a cost of between £5,000 and £7,000.
Mr Russell was afraid that the Rathlin project would little remaining money in the budget to allow the Portrush delegation to proceed with the construction of their new harbour.
But he assured them that he was willing to champion their cause, he said: “A great effort will be made in Parliament next year to get more money for improving harbours. And if you can matters with the county council I will put Portrush at the head of the list of harbours requiring attention.”