The AIB Bank in Mitchelstown was evacuated in January 1998 following a bomb alert. A call to 103FM County Sound in Mallow claimed a bomb had been placed in the bank. Following a thorough search by local gardai and satisfied that the building was safe, the premises was reopened after the 40 minute search.
Rathcormac man Pat Hoskins was announced winner of an amateur solo singing contest at O’Driscoll’s Lounge, Rathcormac, run by the North Cork branch of ASI. Singing in ‘the Larry Cunningham/Jim Reeves style’, Mr Hoskins took home the £500 top prize following a contest which was run over a duration of 16 Saturday nights. The other five finalists were Michelle Burke (Ballynoe), Liam Flynn (Glanworth), Deirdre Fitzgerald (Rathcormac), Marie Coughlan (Rathcormac) and Breda Lynch (Ballindangan).
There was ‘unease’ from locals at the proposed housing developments for the Beechfield/Pike Road area of Fermoy by the local UDC, with plans for two separate schemes in 1998, one of 36 local authority dwellings, the other compromising of 6 private dwellings. Residents expressed concern at what they considered a ‘convenient catch-all solution’ by the UDC to convert the open countryside adjacent to the Beechfield and Pike Road area, into ‘an unbroken area of local authority housing’. They pointed out that the area was ‘poorly equipped to deal with an influx of young families’, due to secondary schools being located south of the river, as well as the absence of recreational facilities in the area. The proposed housing density of eight houses per acre was deemed ‘excessive’ and while recognising the urgent necessity for housing development in the greater Fermoy area, a spokesperson told The Avondhu that ‘housing defective in its planning and development will, in the long term, create more problems than it will solve’.
An investigation was under way regarding an incident of cruelty and the burning of a caravan at a Traveller encampment at Kilally, Kilworth in January 1998. The Travellers vacated their ‘home’ just prior to Christmas, leaving behind one of their caravans. Locals out walking on St Stephen’s Day noticed ‘a small dog scratching at the windows’ who was in a distressed state – the incident was reported to gardai, who in turn brought it to the attention of the Animal Welfare Officer for the area. Shortly thereafter, the caravan was burned to the ground, with ‘several rumours’ abounding as to the cause. The families who had moved to the area, ‘dealt in the sale of farm gates and other agricultural merchandise’ and it was understood they would be returning to the area, as 19 of the children had attended two of the local national schools.
The ancient wheels of Glanworth Mill were once again turning, as the 17th Century building was being restored to its former glory thanks to the vision and hard work of Lynne Glasscoe and Emelyn Heaps. With works at an advanced stage, it was hoped the country inn with restaurant, 11 en-suite bedrooms (with 4-star ratings), a tea room, library and a beautifully landscaped courtyard garden, would open to the public in early 1998.
‘Steady progress’ was reported on the Mitchelstown Community Leisure project. Following the appointment of Ben Lynch as chairman and Frank Mullally as vice-chairman at the December 1997 AGM, new PRO John Ryan updated The Avondhu with the project’s progress in January 1998. Three properties had been acquired – Harrington’s Field (£106,000), the Canon’s Field (£145,000) and the Peppermill Restaurant (£81,000). As part of the plans, a car park, to be located close to the complex, would accommodate ‘approximately 240 vehicles’. The people of Mitchelstown were urged ‘to continue their support’ and maintain the momentum for the project – the cost was likely to top the £2M mark.
It was reported that several hundred pounds worth of damage was caused to Clogheen Community Hall in late December 1997, when ‘vandals entered the building and set off fire extinguishers’. The perpetrators broke one of the windows to gain entry and were believed to have spent some time in the hall. According to one eyewitness, ‘the whole place was destroyed’ by the substance contained in the extinguishers and despite the best efforts of locals, an industrial cleaner had to be employed to clean up, due to the extensive damage.