Management and staff at the state-owned Moorepark farm were counting the cost of a BSE outbreak among its prime dairy herd in August 1997. In line with government policy in the event of any such outbreak, ‘all animals that comprise the herd of which the infected animal is part, would be bought and later destroyed by the state’. 560 such animals therefore had their fate sealed. Head of the Dairy Production Research Department at Moorepark, Dr Kevin O’Farrell, said the psychological trauma could not be overlooked for staff, who had come into daily, often twice daily, contact with the animals, stating “Moorepark without cows will be unusual, almost unthinkable”.
Ballyhooly’s Tom Leahy returned home a hero from the Cerebral Palsy Games in Nottingham in August 1997, having secured three medals. Taking gold and setting world records in both the shot and discus events, Tom also placed 2nd in the club event, impressively setting a national record. One of 28 Irish athletes at the games, the Ballyhooly native had been competing at the top level in major games since 1984 and brought his medal haul to 13, which included 8 gold.
Solicitors acting on behalf of Fermoy UDC were instructed ‘to begin proceedings against those town residents who (had) failed to pay their water service charges’. Although a ‘number of residents’ had come to agreement on a repayment schedule, the local authority were now getting tough with those who had failed to settle their accounts. It was estimated that ‘well in excess of £100,000’ was still owed to Fermoy UDC, with as many as 200 householders likely to appear in court. A spokesman for the local UDC told The Avondhu that ‘given the large number of defaulters involved, the UDC intends proceeding against the transgressors in blocks of 20 or 30’, with the first actions possibly taking place as early as the first week in September 1997. Councillor Joe Sherlock was calling on the UDC ‘to desist from such an action’, which he believed may prove ‘a fruitless exercise’ for the local authority, which ‘could very well backfire’.
A ‘magic target’ of £5 million was set by Ballyhoura Development Ltd, as the amount of tourism revenue to be generated in Ballyhoura country by the year 2000. Revenue from tourism in the region had grown from £150,000 (0.2% of area income) in 1986, to £2,664,000 in 1995 (4.2%) according to the company’s annual report in August 1997. The ambitious target formed part of the QUEST Initiative, which aimed to encourage 20 of the top tourism businesses in the area to engage in a process of complementary planning, as a result of direct training and inputs.
Patricia Browne, representing The Castle Bar, was chosen as the 1997 ‘Queen of the Awbeg’ in Castletownroche. There was a double for the public house, as its representative in the annual Bachelor contest, Christy Jones, took the title. Mallow’s Fergal O’Connor was winner of the TP Keenan Song Contest, having co-wrote and performed the winning composition, ‘Dannin Child’.
A number of motor related thefts occurred in Fermoy in August 1997. The most serious incident saw 8 car stereos stolen following a break-in at Farrell Motors’ car dealership. Valued at approximately £150 each, all of the cars interfered with were parked in the garage’s compounds, with a number of vehicles having their side windows broken. While closer to the town centre at Chapel Square, hub caps were the order of the day, with two hub caps apiece stolen off both an Opel Astra and a Ford Escort.
A 21 year old farmer from Avondale, Charleville tragically lost his life following a swimming accident ‘halfway between the villages of Ballyhooly and Castletownroche’ in August 1997. Michael Leahy got into difficulty near Bridgetown Abbey, a point where both the rivers Blackwater and Awbeg meet. The young farmer, having ‘been accompanied to the Abbey by a small group of relations’, had gone for a swim and was ‘pulled under by the strong undercurrent’ – unfortunately, all attempts to revive him failed.
Padraig Burke captained Ballyhooly’s minor B hurlers to their first championship title in August 1997, when narrowly defeating Kilworth. Played at Fermoy, Ballyhooly’s first half goal following a ground shot 30 metres from goal by Liam O’Connell, set them on course to victory, leading 1-4 to 0-5 at the interval. The winners’ second green flag came courtesy of Aidan Condon. Final scoreline 2-7 to 1-6.