‘Anarchy rules OK!’ – So read the front page headline in April 1997 following yet another abandonment of a Fermoy UDC meeting, with the ‘lifetime’ of the sitting council at the time reported as being ‘dogged by adjournments and littered with abandonments for one reason or another’. On this occasion, no business was transacted ‘following the refusal of one of the members (Cllr John Hussey) to withdraw comments made to the chair at a previous meeting’. Vice chairman Michael O’Dwyer, standing in for chairman Cllr Richie O’Leary, oversaw two adjournments at the farcical meeting, as Cllr Hussey refused to apologise for his comments to Cllr O’Leary made in February 1997. In spite of a vote which saw 6 councillors in favour of having Cllr Hussey ‘suspended from taking any further part in the meeting’, the councillor refused to leave the chamber. Before the meeting broke up, Cllr O’Dwyer stated that ‘all options open to the council to deal with Cllr Hussey’s refusal to leave the chamber when requested to do so would be explored’, as he rescheduled the meeting by 1 week. The saga continued…
Gardai were keeping ‘an open mind on the identity of the culprits’ following a spate of break-ins in the Ballygown area on Easter Saturday 1997. The most serious break-in occurred at the local national school, where some damage was done to the interior and ‘a guitar was also stolen’ – however, the school’s aquarium, which took pride of place in the school, was ‘smashed on the ground’. A nearby mobile home was also broken into, as were two farmhouses.
The level of interest in property was described by one Mitchelstown auctioneer as ‘exceptional’ in April 1997, with demand exceeding supply. Auctioneer Tom Hyland was reported to have agreed sales ‘totalling almost £1 million’ in a six week period. This included the sale of the Castle Park Hotel to Michael and Mary Spratt, 2 properties at Mitchelscourt, 2 houses on Upper Cork Street, 2 cottages at Stag Park, 2 houses at Mulberry Crest, along with a house at Ballinrush, Kilworth. Describing prices as ‘excellent’, Mr Hyland informed The Avondhu that ‘the current low mortgage rates’ had helped ‘fuel people’s enthusiasm to purchase’.
Fermoy mother of six, Mairead Scannell, had been selected to contest the 1997 General Election for the National Party in the Cork East constituency. A member of the party since its foundation in December 1995, and declaring herself ‘a follower’ of leader Nora Bennis, she decided to become actively involved in politics following the divorce referendum in 1995. Someone not afraid to proclaim her christian values, when asked by The Avondhu on her chances of winning a seat, she stated, ‘if it’s God’s wish and the wish of the people of the constituency then I will be elected’.
‘A general feeling of relief in the area’ was how chairman of Lismore Town Commissioners, Bernard Leddy, described the statement by Minister Niamh Bhreathnach indicating that the required funds would be released to allow the amalgamation of two of the town’s national schools, namely Presentation Convent and CBS National School. The new school would ‘have approximately 250 pupils and up to 10 teaching staff’, with works estimated to cost £600,000.
Local five-piece rock band ‘Navia’, representing Colaiste an Chraoibhin, Fermoy pulled off a notable feat at the finals of Slogadh ’97 when it won the U18 Rock section at the prestigious annual festival held in Carlow. Consisting of Austin Wilson (rhythm guitar), Declan Hoskins (drums), John Treacy (lead guitar and vocals), Tina Treacy (vocals) and Kieran Lavery (bass), the band had to perform three original compositions live, as Gaeilge! Thanks here was expressed to teacher Eileen Dennis.
At an estimated cost of £1.6 million, tenders were being sought for the construction of a new 30-bed unit at St Patrick’s Hospital, Fermoy. This followed an announcement by Minister for Health, Michael Noonan confirming the green light for the project, which was set to replace the old building on the grounds.
In sport – Brideview United clinched the Division One title in the Red House League in April 1997, when a John Doyle strike in the 50th minute was enough to defeat Ardmore 1-0 on home soil – the Tallow side won the league by 3 points, with Ballyduff as runners-up. St Colman’s College Fermoy secured a place in their second successive All-Ireland colleges senior hurling final, with an easy victory over St Mary’s, Belfast – 4-18 to 1-6.