A hard fought election, full of drama and typical back biting, came to an end 21 years ago this week with less surprises than were expected. The election results read like a ‘who’s who’ of local politics, including those harbouring national aspirations.
The O’Keeffe clan were continuing their previous poll topping results with Kevin O’Keeffe securing his first place in the vote for a council seat. Fianna Fail’s Frank O’Flynn was also elected on the first count. There was then a battle for the remaining seats with Aileen Pyne and PJ Walsh (Fine Gael) taking their place on the council after a hard fought contest.
In Limerick John Gallahue took a resounding victory in the Kilmallock Electoral Area.
There were also elections for the Urban District Councils, the old system of town representative bodies. Tadhg O’Donovan’s (Labour) capturing a seat at the expense of Fine Gael’s Michael O’Dwyer was regarded as the upset of the political contest. There were no complaints from William Hughes who was also standing for a Fermoy UDC seat, but lost out by a single vote to Arthur Dowling (147 / 146). William never called for a recount and said he was ‘happy to let the matter rest’.
The permanent fixture of a burnt out car at the Mass rock in Glenville was causing significant upset for locals. The enraged residents had made repeated representations to the council, but yet the car remained in situ. That resulted in a formal request for help from the community council after their six week campaign fell on deaf ears.
The community council even sent a delegation to visit the engineer for the area, to appeal to him to tow away the incinerated car. The local group said that the hold up on the removal was because the council were seeking to find the owner who, if found, had to be given three weeks to remove it.
In Ballygown, the community were celebrating 40 years of the local national school. They had organised get-togethers for past pupils.
There was a unique appeal for information by Fermoy gardai to help a collector of sheets of Irish music who misplaced their massive historic collection. A musician passing through the area was en route to Europe and was driving through Fermoy when his car broke down. It was towed by a local garage, who then provided him with another vehicle to continue his journey. But while most of his luggage went with him, he forgot one critical bit – a briefcase that contained all the music sheets which he had spent much of his life gathering. Gardai in Fermoy appealed for help from the public to find the missing musical loot.
The problem of litter was a constant visitor to the pages of The Avondhu over two decades ago. There was an Inter-Town Litter Challenge taking place and in a unique structure, the contest involved a league like play-off. Mitchelstown was up against the East Cork seaside town of Youghal, with the Main Street being the arena where judges were set to take their markings. The adjoining streets would also play host to the referees, who would rank the towns on their cleanliness. The council had ‘respectfully’ asked Mitchelstown residents to play their part and make sure the streets were clean.
The visit of President Mary McAleese to open a centre for Alzheimer’s sufferers was also of note. It was a big day for Mitchelstown’s Mary Dunleavy and her team at the North Cork Branch of the ASI. The president was given a tour of the centre and she said it was a great honour to officiate at the opening of such an important facility for the people of North Cork.
Marcel Pesko, the Slovakian Ambassador, paid a visit to Fermoy to meet the Irish trout angling team. The ambassador made his diplomatic visit to the banks of the Blackwater as the team were set to compete in the European Championships. The keen angler wanted to meet Ireland’s top exponents of the sport and said that he looked forward to casting his line on the river in the future.
In sport, the Special Olympics Torch Run passed though Mitchelstown carried by members of An Garda Siochana from across the country. A large crowd gathered as the hand-over took place between Tipperary garda, Donal O’Connell and Castletownroche garda, Conor Hedigan. Locals also raised €5,000 for the event. The torch run was part of a worldwide initiative by police forces ahead of the 1999 summer games – gardai linked up with their colleagues in the Royal Ulster Constabulary in a show of unity.
Watergrasshill took home the Annual Gaelic Week Festival title in Midleton, with victory over Castlemartyr 0-15 to 3-5, following a thrilling contest.