Litter led the news agenda 21 years ago as a hefty fine was handed down to a man who threw rubbish on the street of Fermoy and his defence in the subsequent court case was a unique one. Then District Court Judge Michael Pattwell had heard the case of a Midleton man who had been socialising in Fermoy. The court heard that Garda Tony Crockett had witnessed the man emerge from a chipper and throw his used wrapping on the ground. When approached by the garda, the man said that he could not be guilty of littering as the street was covered in other rubbish as it was. The man used the same defence before the court, but Judge Pattwell did not look favourably on the excuse and imposed a £500 fine, declaring that it was time to get tough on litter louts. 

In May 1999 the problem of rubbish on the streets of towns in The Avondhu region, especially after night clubs, was highlighted and Chief Superintendent Kieran McGann launched a garda campaign to deal with the problem. 

Glanworth was starting to look like North Cork’s answer to Hollywood, as a film that was shot in the area was nominated for a major international award. Felicia’s Journey was shot in the village and surrounds and was one of the 24 movies selected to compete for the coveted Palmes d’Or at Cannes, France, the world’s most prestigious film festival. The film was up against it, as some of the world’s greatest film makers, Peter Greenaway, Pedro Almodovar and David Lynch, were also in for awards.

Castletownroche paid tribute to Tidy Towns supremo Billy Browne who was acknowledged for his hard work in getting the picturesque village its recognition. Billy was said to be a man who believed ‘actions speak louder than words’. He was known as Castletownroche’s unofficial litter warden and spent much of his time touring the area collecting discarded rubbish. 

There was political drama, as an outspoken councillor launched a scathing attack on his Fianna Fáil party colleagues. Firebrand local politician John Hussey had been a controversial figure for his political party and he promised that his independent status would result in the ‘mother of all battles’ and sought to attack, what he claimed was nepotism at the heart of Fianna Fáil in North Cork. He also claimed that Fermoy was becoming the ‘toxic capital of Ireland’ and he would fight to safeguard the environmental status of the Blackwater Valley. 

Fraudsters are not a new phenomenon in The Avondhu area, as bogus collections were uncovered in Fermoy. Gardai had launched an investigation into two incidents, whereby people were asked to contribute to fake charities. 

There were also angry words from local engineer Kevin Finn, who rounded on an ‘inaccurate’ traffic survey of Mitchelstown. A Cork County Council report into pre dual carriageway Mitchelstown was declared by Mr Finn as ‘characterised by major commissions, inaccuracies and distortions… having been guillotined and sanitised before publication’. He went even further with his attack and described the survey as ‘an appalling work of fiction which should be called to book for wasting public and EU funds’. The Mitchelstown engineer said that the report completely underplays the problem of traffic congestion as the main Cork to Dublin road ran through the town. He blamed much of Mitchelstown’s traffic woes on the Baldwin Street traffic lights, adding that the council had not updated the system at the junction for the previous ten years. 

The retirement of popular local politician Carey Joyce was set to be marked with a large event to pay tribute to his ‘unique and personal service to the area as a member of Cork County Council’.

Plans were at an advanced stage in May 1999 for the annual Festival of the Galtees in Mitchelstown, as excitement was said to be mounting ahead of the Millennium edition of the Queen of the Galtees contest. There were three candidates for the crown with Margaret Morrissey, Joan Sweeney and Sheila Mahony all set to compete. They were expected to be canvassing around the area and would be selling ballot papers for locals to vote for their favourite candidate. 

There was news of a first time Tipperary council candidate taking his first steps into political life. Mattie McGrath was asking people to consider him when contesting his first election. The Fianna Fáil party member was standing in the Tipperary South Riding County Council Cahir Electoral area. The father of six hailed from Newcastle and was seeking one of the four available seats. 

Meanwhile in sport, Mitchelstown Celtic were on their way to the McCarthy Cup final to face Accrington FC after a 1-0 victory over Kilbehenny FC, with Tony Graham’s 30 yard cracker on 18 minutes the decider. 

There was mention of Fermoy Athletic Club’s Mary Sheehan who was counting up her victories as she performed well at a number of road races across Munster.