There is a sense in Brookeborough that some of the community spirit of the area is missing in the wake of Covid-19.

Residents believe the village has struggled to come out of the pandemic and now locals want to see it return to how it was.


Robert Coalter.

Robert Coalter.


“There is not enough things going on since Covid, it has hurt the world," said Robert Coalter who was busy in his yard, "Nobody goes back to meeting now".

“When people come home at night and get their tea, it’s not like Emmerdale where the place is buzzing."

He says housing is the number one issue in Brookeborough. It is a similar problem throughout Fermanagh.

"There is not enough young people in this town," he said, "People are leaving, there is not enough housing".

"It's not like Lisbellaw where they are up in the heights and building more and more. I think people would come if we built houses.”

He praised the "good community relations" and said the village is "lucky to have such good relations".

“We live side by side; other villages might be one sided but Brookeborough is lucky.”


Sheila Carson

Sheila Carson


Sheila Carson, a retired teacher from Brookeborough Primary School, was still working until three years ago when Covid-19 hit. She is 86 now.

Following a 25 year career within the school as a teacher, she returned on a voluntary basis for 22 years to listen to the children reading, something she says she enjoyed "immensely".

“I loved it. All were lovely children, they were angels. They were brilliant children.”

Mrs Carson believes there could be more activities for children here.

“They have a youth club at the Elim church, toddler group at the Methodist church, GAA, and it would be lovely to have another village shop. We have a pub. But the fish and chip shop closed and the cafe beside me closed too. I do miss that because I could nip next door the odd time and chat to the people who came in.


Ann McCaffrey.

Ann McCaffrey.


Others also believe there needs to be more done for the youth. Ann McCaffrey was out doing her messages when she spoke to The Impartial Reporter.

"There is nothing for young ones or anything. I’ve grandchildren and there is nothing for them, we have a play park but the older ones, teenagers there’s nothing for them.


Benny McClave.

Benny McClave.


Busy in his office at the back of his shop was Benny McClave. At 76 he is sprightly, teasing that he is actually 25 when speaking to this reporter. He took a break from washing dishes to meet us.

He said the town “slipped up badly” in terms of housing.

"If you look at Maguiresbridge, not that many years ago it was the same as Brookeborough, Housing is getting no better. The daughter here had to go to the ‘Bridge to get a house, there were better sites.”

Mr McClave remarked on how times have changed in Brookeborough and indeed in Rosslea where he grew up.

“It is a different day, it was out to your local pub, there was never nightclub mentioned when I was in my teens.”

He did however voice his favour for the proposal to have a shared education campus in Brookeborough for the two local primary schools.

"They are looking for a new site for the mixed school. It passed and all, but that’s the way it is going. It is about time it came.”

However, there are some seeds of hope in the community as there is work underway to improve the place.


Tom Campbell.

Tom Campbell.


Tom Campbell explained how a small festival organised here had been reprised and was going down well.

“We have now started our festival again, we had it on this year and it was very well supported and was very well supported by both sides as well.”

He added: “Brookeborough is quiet and there is not much hassle or trouble. There is an odd bit but its not as bad as some smaller towns.”


Suzanne Orr.

Suzanne Orr.


Suzanne Orr, who works in the the local pharmacy, explained how she wants "to stay" in Brookeborough but complained that there is "nothing in the town for lunch, coffee or dinner".

"Losing the chippy was a big loss, Maguiresbridge would be closest for the chippy. We get scripts in Lisnaskea and we’d get something for our lunch when we are there and bring it back."

While there is no place like home for Miss Orr, she worries about the future.

"There aren't many homes up for rent. The 'Bridge or Fivemiletown would be as far as I’d go, I have known nothing else. I couldn’t move to a big town like Enniskillen."

Why not?

"Enniskillen a big town when you’re coming from Brookeborough!”