A retiring county councillor led the news agenda 21 years ago as he called on Mitchelstown to work together to make positive changes to tackle its problems. Conor O’Callaghan said that the town had massive growth opportunities as its people faced into a new millennium, “I believe it has potentially huge development for growth and overall improvement. This is provided that a number of serious problems facing the town are finally dealt with in a proper manner.” He listed the main problems as litter, traffic congestion, lack of parking and the ‘general mayhem on our main street’.
Meanwhile, a massive seizure of drugs, worth £100,000, in woodland in at the Mountain Barracks between Araglin and Mitchelstown, dealt a massive blow to local drug dealers. The discovery came after a tip-off from a local person who noticed suspicious activity. It was believed the consignment of cannabis was being distributed to local drug dealers. The article noted that criminals were using rural areas to store quantities of illegal drugs, targeting smaller towns for their business.
There was joy in Fermoy as the Fleadh Cheoil festival was announced for the town. Organisers described the event as a ‘three day celebration of Irish music and dance’. The fact that the event had come to the town was described as a ‘major coup’. The weekend would see people competing in a host of disciplines from tin whistle, fiddle, piano, flute, banjo and céili dancing.
GAA stalwart Derry Gowen was honoured for his work supporting and promoting Irish culture at the annual dinner dance for the Cork County Scór. He started his career in 1968 when he first suggested the idea of a talent competition based on the GAA’s nationwide club structure. The competition would encourage and foster a love of Irish music, song and dance. Speaking to The Avondhu he said: “The idea was to revive parts of our culture that were in danger of fading away.” Set dancing had all but faded away in the 1960s, he said, and other traditions were dying out also. He said that Scór was started out of that proposal and it had been a huge success.
The boom was appearing on the distant horizon as the reduction in interest rates across the European economic zone in 1999 saw a great opportunity for growth in business. The European Central Bank had lowered the standard rate to 2.5%, meaning there was a boom time for borrowing – it was ahead of the introduction of the euro currency.
In Mitchelstown, the local Bank of Ireland branch hosted an Investment Day amid warnings that it would mean money being held in financial institutions would not make as much money on interest as it did before. The meeting would give people an opportunity to invest their money in potential high yield opportunities.
There were appeals for more disabled spaces in the new Mitchelstown Square development to help motorists with a physical disability. A relative of one motorist contacted The Avondhu, to complain that many spaces for disabled people were taken up by uncaring, able-bodied people.
James O’Connell was added to the ballot by the Fine Gael National Executive to contest the Fermoy Electoral area locations. Commenting, he said: “It won’t be easy but I can assure all your readers that I will not be found wanting.”
There was the announcement that as many as 10 ‘persistent defaulters’ had been served with eviction notices by Fermoy District Council. Those involved had failed to pay their rent over an extended period of time. Councillors had called for an ‘acceptable compromise’ to prevent the evictions.
There was widespread concern at a spate of vandalism incidents in Fermoy. There were attacks on flower beds in multiple locations across the town in what appeared to be a concerted campaign.
There were widespread fears of environmental damage to the scenic Blackwater Valley, which it was claimed was under threat from toxic plants and dumps. There was a proposed ‘toxic plant’ at Corrin, Fermoy and there were other locations of concern.
Environmental groups such as Araglin Anti-Dump Committee, Ballyguyroe Protest Group, Acres Against The Dump and Fermoy Environmental Group, all made presentations at an event in Castlehyde Hotel.
In sport, Castlelyons took a victory in the Junior Football League Division One final against Carrigtwohill, scoring 2-11 to the East Cork side’s 2-9. Kilworth GAA’s minor hurlers suffered a loss to Fermoy by three points in their league encounter. While Mitchelstown Celtic and Kilbehenny FC were preparing for their McCarthy Cup semi-final match.