The key revelation of February 1999 was that the best beef in Ireland could be found in Conna. The declaration was made by Ballygowan and the Irish Food Writers Guild who awarded local producers Barry Brothers Beef with first prize in the annual food awards. Competition judges arrived in secret and bought the beef at David Ryan’s Centra in Fermoy, bringing it back to Dublin where it was cooked and tasted.
Waste, litter and rubbish was on the minds of The Avondhu area residents 21 years ago as a group of Presentation Secondary School students in Mitchelstown were campaigning for a litter warden in the town. They collected 1,700 signatures, almost two-thirds of the town’s population in those days. The town’s business people also supported the campaign with 24 out of 25 businesses wading in behind the plan. The girls were planning on travelling to Cork County Hall to make representations to council officials.
There was also strong opposition from residents in Grange, Castlehyde, Acres and Cregg against plans for a recycling plant in the area. The ‘state-of-the-art’ facility would cost IR£1 million and was the brainchild of then Urban District Council chairman, Cllr John Dunlea. There were complaints that such a facility would effect the area’s attractiveness to tourists.
Emotions were also running high from residents in Glenduff, who were campaigning for road improvements in their vicinity. Nothing had been done in the area by the council despite assurances that work would commence. The residents had performed a large amount of work themselves to make the roadways passable. The council had a different story and said that all promised work would be completed.
The impending Millennium celebrations remained a hot topic, with a large scale meeting held in Fermoy to plan the event. People were asked to submit their individual ideas for various projects.
Glanworth’s Lynne Glasscoe was credited with inventing the phrase “The Noughties”, to describe the first decade of the new century. Her catchphrase even made the bulletins on Sky News.
There was a novel approach to Mass going, as ceremonies were set to be broadcast into the homes of people who were unable to attend services in the Church of Our Lady Conceived Without Sin, Mitchelstown. The concept was aimed at the elderly of the town and consisted of a transmitter in the church broadcasting to dedicated receivers in the homes of the sick and infirm.
Across the region there were calls for an identity card system to stop children drinking underage. New legislation had been signed into law and it was welcomed by Vintner’s Federation of Ireland president, John Mansworth, who said Cork publicans welcomed the strategy.
There were awards for the Clonmel Road Residents’ Association in Mitchelstown. The group received The Avondhu sponsored Improvement Incentive Awards, as they were adjudged to have been most successful at improving their area. There were also awards for the Church Street Residents’ group and for a similar association in Barrack Street.
Councillor Carey Joyce announced his retirement from public life as he wanted to spend time with his wife Margaret. The Fianna Fail politician was steeped in local politics and had served in the Dail, having been elected in 1981, but he would serve just one year as a TD, not being re-elected the year after in a new election.
Fermoy’s former Army Barracks was still on the market and attracted a huge amount of interest, according to the Department of Defence. Business people were visiting the site and it was planned that the land could be sold off at auction, in chunks, to interested parties.
There was a heartfelt plea for help from the owner of two missing ponies, that were last seen in the Rathealy Road area of Fermoy. Jack Keohane appealed for news of the two animals. ‘Lacey’ and and a second animal, had vanished without trace.
There was sad news as 102 year old Tom Quinlan from Garryspillane passed away. The veteran of the War of Independence had fought for Irish freedom and his late half-brother, Paddy Maher, was wrongly executed in Mountjoy Jail in 1921 for a false accusation that he was involved in the rescue of Sean Hogan at Knocklong Railway Station in 1919. Following the war, he went onto have a successful career as a cattle drover and was reported to have had a great sense of humour.
In sport, Tramore Athletic beat Fermoy in a thrilling five goals to three contest and Accrington Celtic topped Division One of their league with a 4-1 victory over league rivals Mitchelstown Celtic.