A “scandalous decision” was how Deputy Ned O’Keeffe described the purchase by Cork County Council of a house in the Downing area of Kilworth, to house a travelling family. Calling the decision to outlay £62,500 to house one family ‘a disgrace’, Deputy O’Keeffe said ‘this same amount of money could have been used to house two ‘settled’ families in the area’ – however, he received ‘little or no support from other members’ at the December 1996 Council Northern Committee meeting. Willie and Mary O’Donoghue, who at the time were ‘sited at the industrial estate in Fermoy and formerly at Molly Barry’s Cross’, had six children and were ‘very well respected in the area’ according to Senator Joe Sherlock. While Cllr Jack Roche stated that there was a social and Christian responsibility on the part of Cork County Council to see that such families were adequately housed.

150 students from Nagle Rice Secondary School, Doneraile brought musical ‘Oliver’ to stage, with ‘some great comic moments, sparkling performances and magical music numbers’. First year student Adrian Carroll played the lead role of Oliver, while some other cast members included Colm Fitzgibbon, Catriona O’Callaghan, Damien O’Connor, Seamus Hunter, Lisa O’Regan and Barry O’Leary.

There were ‘heightened tensions’ in Glenville parish in December 1996, with a 44 year unbroken stint, which had seen the Glenville chapter of the Legion of Mary decorate the local church for Christmas, in jeopardy following ‘an alleged disagreement involving local curate, Fr Jim Davern’. The story reached national prominence with the matter being discussed on RTE Radio, as the small, tight-knit parish was ‘thrust unwillingly into the limelight’. It was claimed that Fr Davern, who had been serving in the village for 18 months, was unwilling to hand over the keys of St Joseph’s Church so that Legion members could undertake the necessary festive decorations. Fr Davern was ‘reported as saying that he was being persecuted and intimidated by a small group of people in the parish’, and denied that he had been locking up the church for long periods during the day. It was hoped the matter would be resolved in time for the Christmas period.

Transition Year students at St Colman’s College, Fermoy who were involved with the successful mini-company, ‘Roswell’, had their sights set on the European Trade Fair in Cardiff in March 1997, having been selected as one of the four schools nationwide, to represent Ireland. The company were producing a range of elegant wine racks, competitively priced at £15 apiece. Company manager was Brian Tobin, with a management team including Mort Kelleher, Conor McCarthy, Padraig Bermingham, Shane O’Sullivan, Paddy Aherne and Philip Murphy.

Festive entertainment aplenty in December 1996: ‘101 Dalmatians’, ‘The Van’ and ‘A Goofy Movie’ were showing in Fermoy Community Youth Centre Cinema; Ireland’s ‘first professional all male revue’, The Men Of Aran were sure to raise temperatures in The Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown, with Brendan O’Carroll of Mrs Brown’s Boys fame bringing ‘The XXX Files’ to the same venue; there was a Wren Boys Session in The Avondhu Bar, Fermoy; Gash Crack from Dublin were playing the Castle Tavern, Ballyhooly, while Never Heard Of ‘Em played Gallahue’s, Ballylanders.

Sunday, December 29th, 1996 marked the last day of official duty for Rev John Haworth, rector of Fermoy Union, having been instituted in March 1992. His retirement marked ‘the end of 30 years in the stipendiary ministry’, having been ordained in 1967 by the Bishop of Kilmore.

Skeheenarinky junior hurlers tasted defeat in their replayed county final v Ballina, in an encounter ‘that did not come up to the excitement and tension of the drawn game’. Ballina, leading 1-3 to 0-4 at the interval, were the better side on the day and following a low scoring second half, were victorious 1-8 to 0-7.

Shanballymore emerged victorious in their replayed junior A league final encounter with Kilworth. The ‘critics were silenced’ as the year ended without one single defeat in competitive hurling for the side, who had already secured the junior championship and autumn league trophies. Tied at 1-4 apiece at the interval, goals proved the difference in the end, two from Donie Curtin ensuring the silverware went back to Shanballymore. Noel Roche, celebrating his 21st birthday, received ‘the traditional 21 bumps by his team mates and supporters’ following the presentation.