with Madeleine McMullin

Radar on D618 sees red

The camera on the road to Maureillas just outside Céret has been painted red in both directions.  It was placed there in full visibility to try to get people to slow down in what is a notorious black spot, but is obviously not to the liking of some drivers.  The gendarmes are investigating.

Police demo in Perpignan

A mixture of around 200 police officers from the national police, the border police, the municipal police and the CRS held a demo at the foot of the Castillet from 9pm on 23rd October in spite of the rain and cold.  The gathering was to show solidarity with their colleagues who were injured by Molotov cocktails at Viry-Chatillon, but they also drew attention to work conditions particularly with the extended state of emergency increasing workload in what is a border department.

Rivesaltes farmers angry about water management proposal

ASA’s management of the irrigation canal is being legally challenged by a new association, ATAR which disputes that payments for the upkeep of the canal are fairly distributed.  The challenge has led to a judicial review which is underway.  The farmers in Rivesaltes support ASA and say that it is run by volunteers, and that most of the members of ATAR have never been to help clear the canals and would not be prepared to do the repairs or go out in bad weather to open the gates etc to avoid floods.

Dali’s “Centre of the World” deserted

The town blames the lack of customers in the area around the station on the economic crisis and shopkeepers admit that it plays a part but also point to various other decisions which have made parking difficult and do not encourage potential customers to linger.  A seasoned traveller said that it reminded him of certain Eastern European stations.  One shopkeeper claims “The shopping centre that TGV passengers exit through does not help anyone” as the passengers come out and rush for the exits.  Others complain that the one-way system has meant that no-one can park and so their turnover is dropping.

86 migrants coming to the P-O

86 migrants left the jungle in Calais on Tuesday 25th October for the P-O where they were to be met at the Centre de Vacances CCAS-EDF in Sainte Marie.  The authorities have opted for a discreet approach for the arrival to avoid possible hostile reactions.  ACAL (Catalan association for action and liaison) has been preparing for their stay and helping them with applying for asylum.  The mayor of Sainte Marie, Pierre Roig is sure that any fears are unfounded as the centre is well equiped and the migrants will be comfortable there.  But he has employed two extra officers in the municipal police who will be there in the mornings at the bus shelters to reassure mothers.  The authorities will not know until they are actually on their way who is coming, but are expecting single men rather than families.  A page called “Welcome to migrants in the P-O” has been created on Facebook by a support organisation and they are collecting warm winter clothes.

Clios, Méganes and Twingos – most stolen and vandalised

According to the association “40 millions drivers”‘s 3rd annual survey, the cars most stolen and vandalised in the department are the Renault Clio 1 (phase 2), the Megane 2 (coupé cabriolet) and the Twingo.  These are followed by the Peugeot 207 BL and the BMW Series 1.  The data come from experts working for Experveo and use statistics from Traqueur, a company which works in detecting and recuperating stolen cars.

Unemployment on way down

There were 1.068 less unemployed job seekers in the P-O in September than there had been the month before according to Pole Emploi.  This is a 2.9% reduction and means that there were 35,173 people registered in Category A.  The reduction was spread among all age groups: 3.5% for the under 25s and the 25-49 year olds, 1.5% for those over 50.  The only group that increased was the long term unemployed, up by 196 to 12,916.  The decrease in unemployment in the region as a whole was 2.4%.

9 years in prison for paedophile grandfather

It took his granddaughter 10 years to come to terms with the feelings of guilt and pain enough to be able to tell her parents what her grandfather had done to her between the ages of 9 and 14.  He still denies it, but was sentenced to 9 years in prison after the jury deliberated for 2 hours.

Man beats up driving school inspector

The police were called to an incident in Elne where an instructor from a driving school was in a car with a candidate who was taking his driving test for the second time.  There was also an examiner in the car.   The candidate had just started off when the teacher stopped him to point out that he was not wearing his seat belt, at which point he gave her a blow to the face with his elbow.  Everyone got out of the car and an argument ensued.  The police arrested him as he was already on suspension for similar offences.  He is being held awaiting a second hearing in early November.

The “disappeared” from the station

Jean Rançon, the principal suspect in the affair of those who disappeared from Perpignan station is already being prosecuted for the murders of Moktharia Chaib in December 1997 and Marie-Hélène Gonzalez in June 1998, but he has now confessed to trying to kill a young woman in May 1998 on the Avenue de Belfort and he is being prosecuted for a 4th crime in September 1997.  According to the Independant’s sources he has confessed to an attempted rape not far from the station area to which he had moved after his release from prison.  His trial should take place from the end of 2017.

Madeleine McMullin lives in Palalda from where she runs her marketing business Marketing66.  She has worked both in the UK and abroad, with big brand names in the interiors and design industries such as Wedgwood, Denby, Sebastian Conran, Laura Ashley, Hemingway Design……..


  1. Hi Madeleine, thanks as ever for this.

    I’m interested in the item about the refugees at St Marie. What a good idea to house them, at least temporarily, in a holiday camp.

    I’ve been looking for a P-O group for refugees, and wonder whether you could let me have your source, so I can chase up the FB group?


    1. Hi Elaine, Here is a link to the Facebook page I took the information from an article in the Independant . However there is another one that went up early this morning, saying that they’re no longer sure if there are any migrants coming up or not. Apparently they were also supposed to be welcoming some minors in Bolquère and they’re also not sure if they are going to receive any. The people may all have been allocated to other places (seems we were last on the list). I guess it will become clear later today whether anyone is actually coming or not!

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