Memories from the Archives – January 2001

L-r: Maeve Lynch, Damien Caplice, Angela Griffin and Frances Forrester at a public meeting called by members of Mitchelstown Leisure Centre committee in the Castle Park Hotel.

The front page of The Avondhu 21 years ago carried the news of a potentially fatal hydrochloric emission at Micro-Bio in Fermoy. The release of hydrogen chloride at the plant left three men working nearby dizzy, and nauseated, with headaches and a ‘weird taste’ in their mouths. An unnamed Fermoy doctor confirmed that the symptoms were quite serious, while the company confirmed the leak was eliminated after two minutes. The incident was reported to the EPA.

Down Lismore way, the owner of the derelict ball alley remained a mystery. The derelict building was a cause for concern for Lismore Town Commissioners, and the GAA seriously considered taking over the building, if it were not for the ‘crippling’ insurance. Efforts were ongoing to find the owner, so they could be served with a notice.

Two bogus calls claiming house fires were made to Mitchelstown Fire Brigade, and the gardaí were in the process of investigating the crime. In Kilworth, the Ballinaparka Santa had been stolen from a garden in early January, another crime for the force, while in Araglin, batteries powering a set of temporary traffic lights were lifted.

The editorial in The Avondhu 21 years ago deplored the harrowing’ news that 750,000 cattle were to be destroyed following news of BSE scares throughout Europe. The Purchase for Destruction Scheme paid out 90p/lb. The same editorial called also for the outlawing of the ‘obscene’ number of plastic bags ‘churned out’ at supermarket checkouts.

Promises were made to install flood prevention works at Castlelyons Cemetery, where graves were waterlogged. Drainage works were ongoing at Rathcormac and were due to finish up soon. In Doneraile, demands were made by residents for action around the flooding blackspot around the Ballinree Bridge. The floods took days to subside and had been an issue ‘for generations’. Residents who managed to escape did so by driving on dirt tracks through Coillte forests.

In Watergrasshill, there was dismay as construction of the bypass began near the school. The council claimed they had received no claim of compensation from the area committee, and that while a letter was read out at a meeting by the priest, it was never received in writing by the council. Any hopes of having the route now changed was quashed.

“In the face of (some) scepticism and negativity”, plans were presented for the new Mitchelstown Leisure Centre. Plans had been downsized from the original scheme, but they still included a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and café. Discussions were held on whether a 20 or 25 metre pool would be preferred. Meanwhile, the sale of Forest Hall in Mitchelstown was forging ahead, for the purpose of a new library in the town.

The issue of illegal dumping was just as prevalent 21 years ago as it is today, however, as a civil matter rather than a criminal matter, fines of just £25 could be issued by the council. Dumping at Mitchelstown quarry was particularly prevalent. Peadar Fitzgerald of Ballindangan Community Council witnessed perpetrators in the act, but despite reporting it to gardaí, doubted any action would be taken.

In Mitchelstown, a Gamblers Anonymous group was set up, while up the road, the Kilbehenny Wren Boys raised £1,200 for Chernobyl,

In Coláiste an Chraoibhín, the first male graduate of the teaching diploma in drama, Paul Hannon of Kilfinane, was heading to Singapore to teach. He completed his diploma alongside Frances Foley from Fermoy and Louise Howard, Kilworth.

Co-op Superstores, Mitchelstown, advertised their ‘gigantic’ sale. Rib Steak was £1.29/lb, two litres of Coca Cola was 99p, as was a basket of pears. The ‘World’s Smallest Phone’ was on sale for £39 from North Cork Communications. Meanwhile, school milk was predicted to rise by 2p per day as subsidies were reduced.

Photos in The Avondhu in January 2001 documented the trip to China taken by some locals, including Ann O’Casey from Ballyporeen and Helena O’Brien from Mitchelstown. In Clogheen, David and Mary Hyland celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, while in Fermoy, Duncan Stewart was pictured in the kitchens at Corrin Wood Products with Breda Cronin.

Trumpeter Johnny Carroll entertained visitors to The Village Arts Centre in Kilworth, and the same venue played host to a young Ross Noble on his first full UK and Irish tour. Fermoy Community Youth Centre staged the panto ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ with Castleyons’ Sarah Barry in the starring role.

With the New Year clear-outs well underway, a perusal of the classified ads would get you a full-length wax coat for £50, a donkey cart, or a free Jack Russell pup. £500 would get you a 1988 VW Golf with NCT, while the 1993 version would cost you £3,500.