The disappearance of a number of posters which had been erected in Fermoy town by the Christian Solidarity Party (CSP) in October 1996, was reported to the gardai. 8 of the 12 posters erected, ‘displaying messages such as ‘Abortion is the Devil’s Work’ and ’45 Million Abortions every Year’’, were either ‘tore down or damaged’. The party were looking for their return.

A crowd numbering some 180 packed into the main function room at The Firgrove Hotel in Mitchelstown in October 1996 for the 8th holding of the All-Star Sports Awards, organised by the local skittles club. Special guest on the night was Limerick hurling star, Dave Clarke. Adjudicator Jimmy Dennigan had the unenviable task of selecting category winners, with Micheal Hennessy, manager of Mitchelstown Credit Union, the recipient of the Community Award. One of the great GAA personalities in Avondhu and Cork, Tom Monaghan, was announced as the Hall of Fame recipient, along with other category winners: Tony O’Donovan (Badminton), Galvin Hanley (Tennis), Jim Kenneally (Hurling), Michael Whelan (Best Administrator), Eddie O’Donnell (Karate), Diarmuid Lynch (Football), Patsy Curran (Skittles), Thomas Murphy (Soccer), Sean Dennehy (Angling), Jacqueline Sheehan (Camogie), Karen Considine (Athletics) and Claire Hanrahan (Galtee Harriers).

A major road crash was ‘planned’ for Clogheen in November 1996! That’s right, Clogheen Civil Defence were stage-managing the crash for the benefit of civil defence groups throughout South Tipperary, in an exercise designed to show what specific manoeuvres to undertake to deal with the aftermath of a road accident. The ‘crash’ was scheduled for Main Street ‘shortly after evening Mass’ – I kid you not!

1997 would see St Michael’s Hall, Ballyduff benefit from an £80,000 upgrade in facilities, with 50% of funding provided through LEADER II, with the local community having to fundraise a matching figure. The improvements would include work on the front exterior, incorporating the original Muintir na Tire insignia and St Michael’s statue.

“There was now light at the end of the tunnel” – the words of John O’Keeney, chairman of the newly established Glanworth Community Tourism and Leisure Project, who were about to embark on an ambitious programme in late 1996 which would see a new tourist and leisure complex developed in the heart of the village. The official project launch in the local community hall was very upbeat, with the announcement of a substantial project which would see the transformation of one of the village’s oldest buildings, occupied at the time by Glanworth Tyres, into a 3-storey complex to include snooker room, café shop, games room, tourist office, historical room, audio-visual room and toilet facilities. Revitalisation of the village and a boost to employment prospects were cited as the main reasons for the development, estimated to cost between £85,000-£95,000. It was long considered that Glanworth was under-utilised as a tourist hub, given the range of historic features which surrounded the picturesque village.

A 30-bed replacement nursing unit with day hospital facilities was announced for St Patrick’s Hospital, Fermoy by Minister for Health Michael Noonan, triggering a ‘rush’ of welcomes from various public representatives. Planning was at an advanced stage and approval had been conveyed to the Southern Health Board to apply to the local authority for planning permission. The unit was ‘badly needed’ according to Deputy Paul Bradford, while Deputy Ned O’Keeffe called for ‘more geriatric beds for elderly people’.

A welcome boost for business in Mitchelstown, with the opening of a ‘new state-of-the-art bank’, namely TSB, under the management of Pat Buckley.

A view at the property market in late 1996 – a 2-bed mid-terrace property at Barry Park, Glanworth had a guide price of £35,000, with ‘a high level of interest’ expected from auctioneer Paul O’Driscoll. Under the hammer of DJ Hayes, Ballylanders and Kilfinane, was a small house on 9 acres near Ballylanders, again priced at £35k; an old single storey farmhouse on 1 acre near Galbally, guided at £11k, while a split-level period residence with 4 en-suite bedrooms and magnificent drawing room, was guiding at £70k.

Kilworth junior B footballers retained their North Cork crown, defeating Grange on a scoreline of 1-8 to 1-6. Doing well to recover from having had a player dismissed after only 6 minutes, the eventual champions led 1-5 to 1-3 at the interval, with Kilworth captain Sean Carey and Tony Roche exchanging goals. Grange gave up their numerical advantage however, having a player dismissed in the second half, with Kilworth dominant to the final whistle.