There were celebrations as Conna native Bridget Noonan celebrated her 102nd birthday. Many people may have been celebrating the turn of the new century in January 2000, but Bridget had entered her third century and was a resident at St Francis’ Welfare Home in Fermoy. Bridget was born in 1898 and never married, choosing instead to spend her life farming, working with the animals and tending her garden. She also was highly skilled in driving a horse and trap and would join her nine brothers in the fields. 

There were strong concerns regarding the quality and safety of Fermoy’s drinking water. It led to a lengthy discussion at the local Urban District Council meeting, with calls for independent testing to be carried out.

Cllr Richie O’Leary called for the measures to be put in place as he had received several complaints that there was a taste of TCP from the water. He was told there were pockets of chlorine in the water, despite there being no taste or smell of the substance. Cllr O’Leary was worried that the filtration system may be prone to ingress of surface and river water.

Town Clerk, Maurice Manning said that tests had been carried out by the environmental laboratory at Inniscarra and no abnormalities had been detected. “Regular and routine testing is carried out as a matter of course by our own staff and environmental laboratory. Independent tests could be carried out at tap source by any concerned individual,” he said.

Cllr John Murphy said he and his wife had remarked of an unusual taste in the tap water, but said it was only on one occasion. While Cllr Michael Hanley said that as the EU was taking Ireland to court over the quality of water ‘it is hardly surprising people in the town have serious concerns as regards the water supply’. Cllr John Hussey said that it was alarmist to discuss the subject and noted that Cllr O’Leary was drinking from a glass of tap water during the discussion.

The debate finished with a suggestion that council staff should be invited to the council chamber to carry out water testing.

There was much excitement as The Avondhu was set to celebrate its 21st birthday with a super prize of a trip to Paris for one lucky reader. The draw would be made at a concert in the Village Arts Centre, Kilworth. The free giveaway was to celebrate and ‘thank our faithful readers for making us by far the most successful weekly newspaper in the area’.

Local ESB workers were dispatched to the south of France to help in emergency works following a major storm in the area. The four men, Jim Kearney from Ballysaggart together with Pat Walsh, Colin Campbell and Ger Dolan of Fermoy ESB, all set off on December 30 to assist local relief efforts.

The work team, part of a bigger national effort, travelled in their bright yellow vans across land to the city of Limoges, where they spent two weeks reconnecting homes. The efforts were part of a European Union plan to solve the major storm damage problems in the area which left locals without electricity and heating for 13 days.

“French, Spanish, German, Croatian, Irish and English crews were needed to tackle the damage, which is an indication of how much damage there was,” Colin Campbell explained. “On the language front, there were no worries because each crew was assigned an interpreter”.

Pat Walsh said that the welcome was incredible from the local French people with their arrival seeing them met by cheering crowds in the streets. They were also introduced to the local chief of police who asked them to accompany him to the local police station where he presented the crews with a cabinet of drink to thank them for their efforts.

There were appeals for support in Kilworth, as fundraising got underway for a sheltered housing project. With this in mind, organisers said that the weekly bingo was ‘more urgent than ever’. The project was one of the most important and beneficial ever to be undertaken in the village.

In sport – White City FC and Burncourt Celtic played out a 1-1 draw. They were competing for the top honours in the league with Galtee Rovers. Kieran Luddy scored for White City, with Eamon English scoring the late equaliser. Man of the match was Robbie Hannah ‘who never stopped running all day’.

Forge Celtic were back to winning ways following a 2-0 victory over Curraghagalla Utd., despite extreme cold conditions. Their victory came after a dominant display – Pat Costigan and John Gallagher the scorers.