It was panto fever 21 years ago as the family entertainment season kicked off across the region. There were two performances on offer in particular, with the communities in both Fermoy and Rathcormac putting on entertaining spectacles. 

The First of the Mohicans, directed by Cathal O’Keeney, saw adults and children alike form the cast in Rathcormac Community Centre for eight performances with locals dressed as cowboys and Native Americans, in the American Revolutionary period themed event.

Meanwhile, the show staged at Fermoy Community Youth Centre in January 2000 saw a sizeable cast of 100 for their lavish production of Red Riding Hood, under the direction of Margot Carlile. The much loved tale featured Fr Eamonn Barry. There were ten performances in all, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the demand for tickets.

There was mounting anger as battle lines were drawn in a row between Cork County Council and a local businessman in Mitchelstown over the ownership of an industrial site at Cahir Hill. The fraught situation was made more difficult as a large group of Travellers had occupied the site as the dispute raged. There were plans to complete work on the area by February 2000, but this had been stalled. Callers to The Avondhu expressed great anger that the future of the town’s business growth plans could be in jeopardy because of the situation.

Road safety was at the centre of a decision by Cork County Council to examine the possibility of erecting a temporary footbridge at the junction of Duntaheen and the Cork Road. This area had been identified as one of the most dangerous crossings for pedestrians in Fermoy. Lobbying for the bridge was started by Fine Gael Councillor Aileen Pyne, who put the idea to fellow councillors and Council engineers at the area roads meeting.

The type of bridge considered, which would have been rented, was first used in the 1998 Tour de France visit to Dublin which was then used to traverse the course as the city centre was locked down. The bridge had been used subsequently on multiple occasions by various county councils, as well as the Irish Rail Authority.

Cllr Pyne said that the need for the bridge was brought to her attention by a local accountancy firm. In a letter to councillors, Sandy Blackley claimed that the traffic lights at the junction were not effective in preventing the potential danger to children coming from a nearby school. He believed that the children ran the risk of being pushed into traffic as they waited to cross.

However, Brendan O’Gorman, Fermoy roads engineer, said that he was not in favour of a footbridge as it was not a viable solution to traffic and pedestrian problems in urban areas.

There was news of a dramatic river rescue as two gardai and a local man leapt into the raging ice cold waters of the Blackwater to save a Fermoy man who fell in. The gardai were joined by a resident of Beechfield, who assisted the gardai as they rescued the man. It was reported that the young man had climbed onto the wall outside the garda station and was spotted by gardai John O’Sullivan and John Mulvihill. On spotting him falling, they immediately went to the area and leapt into the water, to be helped by local man, Tom Jones. Luckily, an ambulance was located nearby and rushed to the scene – the man was taken to Cork University Hospital for treatment.

In Doneraile, people voiced their concerns at the continuing delay in the allocation of a Garda sergeant to the community. The area had been without the much needed officer for the previous 14 months and there was no sign of Sgt George Finch being replaced. Doneraile had previously been host to four gardai, but that had been reduced to just one officer patrolling the massive surrounding landscape.

Lobbying by locals, a series of meetings with high ranking Garda officers and a petition of hundreds of locals had all failed to force a resolution to the problem. The local superintendent told The Avondhu that the appointment would take some time, but did not go further than that. People in the community offered support to the hard working local Garda, Willie O’Leary who was tirelessly covering the area.

Several road crashes were noted in the area as motorists slid on untreated roads during a spell of sub-zero weather.

In sport – Fermoy Rugby Club recorded a dominant 20-8 victory over rivals Ennis – scrum half Shane O’Donoghue the try scorer. Reports said it bode well for their league campaign.

Ballyporeen FC were celebrating a 4-1 victory over Forge Celtic. Liam O’Connor, Eamon Maher (2) and Ian O’Donnell were the scorers.