Trees, mostly noble fir and numbering about 20 which were found ‘snapped like matchsticks’ in Bloomfield Wood near Ballyhooly, had locals bewildered. A member of Castletownroche Gun Club originally ‘stumbled across the strange scene’ while out shooting. A circle of mature trees, having grown to a height of approximately 60 feet, ‘were found to have been cut in two by some extraordinary force….. snapped off about 10 to 15 feet from the ground’, while trees outside the area remained untouched. The most credible suggestions being put forward for the damage were either a lightning strike or an ‘intense localised whirlwind’.
Formed in July 1991, Araglin Valley Residents’ Association had become a powerful voice for the rural community and in January 1998, were ‘bracing themselves’ for the next phase of their struggle, in opposition to the setting up of a waste disposal facility in Ballard, Araglin. Sources close to Cork County Council indicated that a decision on whether or not to grant planning permission to a waste disposal company, was expected shortly. The construction of ‘lagoons’ (pits used for storing slurry/sludge) was central to the whole issue with locals fearful that, if developed, it would ‘form the first stage in the development of a waste centre in Araglin’. One impassioned spokesperson for the group told The Avondhu that the whole campaign had been about protecting our countryside ‘and ensuring that our children have clean air and fresh water to drink’. “It’s about the survival of a rural community,” he said.