A manhunt was launched for armed bank robbers who took an estimated £14,000 at the AIB Bank in Mitchelstown.
It was the second time that the financial institution was hit in the late 1990s and the third time in the previous two decades. The incident happened shortly after the busiest period of the day at 2.30pm when two masked men burst in.
One of the men was carrying a sawn-off shotgun and stood in the centre of the bank while his accomplice, brandishing a screwdriver, ran and jumped the counter and proceeded to fill a bag with cash. The professional robbers were in and out in a matter of seconds and the two gunmen made their escape in a distinctive black Honda Civic car, waiting outside – the car had been stolen earlier from a local man.
The car was found abandoned in Kilbehenny later that afternoon as gardai threw a dragnet across the region in their hunt for the criminals. Forensic gardai carried out tests on the vehicle as detectives appealed to the public for help in finding the robbers.
There were major plans announced for a development at Ashe Quay and Abbey Street in Fermoy. The applicants, Liam Davis and Conor Cavanagh, applied to the local council to demolish Cavanagh’s garage as well as two shops, offices and overhead accommodation and in their place, to construct a new building comprising four shops, a restaurant, five offices and 42 apartments. Concern was expressed in some quarters regarding the extra parking needed when the development would be complete, particularly as the 42 apartments would attract extra people going to that area of the town. This was set for discussion at the Fermoy Urban District meeting.
Local groups were benefiting from a windfall of funding through Millennium Grants as they prepared for the turning of the century. In the area, associations benefited with cash from Government coffers of between £250 to £3,000, with the big money locally going to Corrin Cross Committee, two projects in Castlelyons, two projects in Kildorrery and another project in Ballyhooly.
Meanwhile, preparations were at an advanced stage as lovers of Corrin Cross were hoping for a clear night on New Year’s Eve as they were set to attend a lighting of the cross on the holy mountain.
There was also an unveiling of a Millennium plaque by the committee of the Festival of the Galtees, planned for the new year at Tearmonn Ui Chaoimh. Also, the Ballindangan Millennium Church Flower Festival was set to also mark the new year/millennium, as they opened their event on Christmas Eve.
There was good news for South Coast TV, who in the days before Sky television, provided international channels to the householders of the region, as they secured a licence for broadcast. Paul Bradford, TD, welcomed the awarding of a licence and said it was a ‘great victory for a dedicated community group whose only interest was to bring low cost multi-channel TV to areas where no such service existed’. The broadcaster had suffered unwelcome enforcement attention over the years from authorities. They had led a lengthy lobbying campaign to be recognised as a legitimate TV provider.
There was disquiet from some quarters as Kingston College was to forego the erecting of a Christmas tree in the environs of the old water pump in Mitchelstown. The complainant said they were ‘disgusted and disappointed’ that there was no tree. Carole Bradley, warden of the College, said that the trustees decided against erecting a tree at the site as it could cause damage to the ancient pump. She said there were other trees on site lit up.
“The decision made not to erect a tree near the pump is not intended as an act of malice or bad will towards anybody, it’s simply to ensure that no damage occurs to the pump, which was originally the main water pump and now an item of heritage,” Carole explained.
Kilworth man Ray O’Sullivan was celebrating as he was selected to represent Ireland in the Euro Sea Angling Championships at Weymouth, England. Ray had been a keen angler all his life and had climbed up the ladder to become one of the country’s most proficient competitors.
In sport – St Fanahan’s College footballers were celebrating reaching yet another county final, as they took out Davis College, Mallow on a scoreline of 1-17 to 0-4. This qualified them for the Cork county vocational schools ‘C’ senior football championship.