21 years ago this week, brave Glenville man Dermot Fenton returned home to a rapturous welcome after his heart and lung transplant. It was the first time in nine weeks that he was able to return to Ireland and the then 24-year-old’s first task was to down his home coming pint of stout. Dermot tragically died in 2016, 17 years after the lifesaving operation. His plan on surviving the operation was to return to studying a computer course.
National Ploughing for Castletownroche
The big announcement in January 1999 was news that Castletownroche was set to host the prestigious National Ploughing Championships. Local farmers Eddie and Margot Farrell were the hosts for the mammoth event and preparations were well under way ahead of the coming September event. There would be 300 competitors from seven countries, along with thousands of people visiting the village.
There were big plans for a community employment project to help the people of Mitchelstown as the Amalgamated Residents Association (AROMA) came together to launch the Clean Up Our Town plan. It was driven by an EU grant and the AROMA group would launch dozens of projects on the back of the funding.
New bye-laws to help keep Cork county drinking water clean were met by concerns by Lee Valley farmers. The bye-laws were set to be introduced in line with EU regulations to improve tap water. But the Irish Farmers Association were not happy with the plan, claiming that some proposals on the clean water protocols were impractical.
History on a disc
There were plans to place Fermoy’s history on then technologically advanced facility of a CD-ROM. In the days before the internet took hold, the disc would hold all of the town’s past experiences and endeavours. The plan would involve interested people calling to Fermoy Library to view the information on a computer.
Jennifer Dungan, a Glencairn woman, was honoured by then President Mary McAleese with a Gaisce Award for her charitable work. The then second year student in Trinity College, Dublin, had already achieved a lifetime of accomplishments. She had climbed Mount Kenya and worked with orphans in Nairobi. She taught Irish to inner city Dublin children, but not content with that, she learned Spanish and went to South America to educate children.
Meals On Wheels saved
It was announced 21 years ago in January 1999, that the Meals On Wheels service in Fermoy was saved from closure in the wake of funding problems in 1998.
The Ballyguyroe landfill dump was at the centre of serious concerns locally as there was a proposed extension to the site and that it would continue operating for a further two years. Councillor Joe Sherlock warned that no alternative had been found to replace the facility and domestic waste would continue to be dumped at the location.
In the Blackwater Valley area there was a massive drive to attract tourists to the area. A plan was put in place to ‘spruce up the image of North Cork’. The strategy’s main component was an effort to document the festivals in the area and to liaise with international travel agents to advertise the Blackwater region.
The courageous work of those helping to rescue parts of North Cork from flooding were honoured and mentioned at council meetings. Engineers, such as Flann Groarke and Michael Cremin, were all praised for their efforts along with the emergency services.
John Anderson, the designer of Fermoy bridge, was set to get a plaque in his honour in the town but debate centred around a proposal to name the town square in honour of the engineer.
There were strong concerns for the future of the processing section in the Galtee plant in Mitchelstown. Cllr Conor O’Callaghan told The Avondhu that he was worried about the Dairygold facility’s future and said that the community were deeply concerned.
Phone directory launch
In the present day, Micheal Martin is hot on the campaign trail, but in January 1999 he was in Mitchelstown’s Presentation Secondary School on a visit as Minister for Education. He also called to Glenahulla National School and Saint Fanahan’s College where he launched a new phone directory for the general area.
In sport, there were An Bodhran Sports Awards for Fanahan McSweeney Athletic Club and Clotilde Fitzgibbon, Mitchelstown Badminton Club. Castle Celtic beat Bandon by four goals to two in a thriller in difficult conditions.