‘A very unusual incident’ in July 1997 saw Ballylanders man, Patrick Dalton have a ‘miraculous escape… when a freak flash of lightning struck a high tension electricity pole only yards from where he was standing’. The ‘fireball’ caused enough damage to the pole and brought down cables, that properties in Glenroe, Ballyorgan and even as far afield as Buttevant lost power for over three hours, before ESB crews restored service. Although the skies were described as ‘grey’ at the time, there was no obvious indication of lightning. Then, ‘quite literally a bolt from the blue’ as the fireball struck. Patrick described the ball of fire ‘as being the size of a car as, with an almighty bang, it hit the pole carrying power to much of the area, bringing down cables and scorching the ground’. A miraculous escape indeed.

340 people attended a gala affair in the dome, Kildorrery to see local lady Maighread Finn crowned the 6th Rose of the Hill at the Kildorrery Mid-summer Festival in July 1997.

Gardai in Fermoy came in for ‘tremendous praise’, when ‘with lightning efficiency’ they took four people, who were acting suspiciously in Bride Street, Rathcormac, into custody in July 1997. Residents in the area had reported what they considered suspicious movements by two men, a woman and a young boy and ‘within minutes’, four gardai arrived on the scene, apprehending the suspects at Curraprevin ‘following a brief chase across fields’. Following questioning at Fermoy Garda Station, charges were instigated against one man, with the remaining three individuals released. It was understood the four had travelled from Cork city.

Lismore man Stephen Roche, a native of Monatarrive, won top prize in the Industrial Wiring section of the National Apprentice competition. A past pupil of Presentation Convent and the Christian Brothers in Lismore, he was an employee at Mercury Engineering in Dublin.

‘Bonfires and horn hooting’ greeted the arrival of newly appointed Junior Minister for Agriculture with special responsibility for food, Ned O’Keeffe, into Mitchelstown in July 1997, as his supporters turned out in numbers to celebrate his elevation to ministerial ranks. Initially meeting with supporters in Kilbehenny, ‘a high spirited cavalcade of over 130 cars’ (who was counting?) then arrived in Mitchelstown, where the entourage abandoned their cars and proceeded to walk from Cahir Hill to New Market Square, where Minister O’Keeffe received a ‘rapturous welcome’. He then addressed those present, thanking them for their continued support.

Following a brief illness, well known Fermoy personality Roger Lonergan passed to his eternal reward. A former urban district councillor and shop owner in the town, Roger originally hailed from Knockadea, Co Limerick. ‘Arriving’ to Fermoy in the 1940s, he took up a position with draper Morgan Spillane, as well as at Flynns, before being employed at Shaws, all the while running a successful family business with his wife Eileen on MacCurtain Street. Life president of the Fermoy Fine Gael Branch, he had served as a member of Fermoy UDC, initially in 1950 and at various stages up until his retirement from politics in 1994. He was also remembered for the part he played as ‘Director’ of Snookers United in the early 1950s, with the team winning the Noble Cup in 1950.

Despite an announcement by the Southern Health Board (SHB) some 18 months previous that Mitchelstown would be provided with its own ambulance service, July 1997 saw ‘a further plea’ from local councillor, Conor O’Callaghan, for the provision of such a service for the Mitchelstown area. Noting that the issue had ‘not gone away’ and with ‘a number of accidents in the area’ hammering home the point for the need for such a service, the Mitchelstown councillor was turning up the heat on the issue with the SHB. Mr O’Callaghan stated he was in favour of setting up a day service, with a view to upgrading ‘to an around the clock one (service)’.

In brief – Three women were questioned, having been arrested in Waterford city, in connection with a raid on a Kilworth pub in July 1997, which saw a substantial sum of money taken, in both cash and cheques. The people of Clogheen paid tribute to Fr Nicholas O’Mahoney at a special function in St Paul’s Community Hall, having served as parish priest in the South Tipperary town for 2 years, before being transferred as PP to Dungarvan – he was replaced by Fr Sean Nugent, a native of Newcastle.