A house in Oliver Plunkett Place, Doneraile was literally ‘falling apart’, with Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe bringing the matter to the attention of the Housing & Sanitary meeting of Cork County Council in July 1998. Understandably causing anxiety to the occupants, the situation was described as ‘critical’. With ‘a history of structural trouble’, fears were expressesd that unless something was done to remedy its faults, the house could collapse. It was claimed the roof had been leaking since July 1997, with the plaster on the main bedroom walls falling off.

A crack on the wall of the main bedroom was ‘widening by the day’, while another crack on the ceiling, running the full length of the house, was also widening. Brickwork outside was also showing signs of cracking. It was agreed that the building would be checked without delay.

A helping hand from Bridget

Bridget Hennessy from Glenroe was one of a 10-strong team from Ireland set to travel to Prague in the Czech Republic to offer their services in a number of the country’s orphanages and psychiatric hospitals. In an effort to provide funding for the August 1998 trip, a charity auction and cake sale was being organised for Glenroe hall.

Ballyhooly GAA Festival

Ballyhooly GAA Festival was all set to roll in July 1998, with some highlights including: an official opening by Chris White, SCI; the Hennessy Cup final between the host village and Glanworth; Daisy the cow’s ‘Spot the Drop’ finale; with Whitney’s Amusements on site nightly.

Putting forward ‘a forceful case’

‘A listening exercise’ was how Minister for Defence, Michael Smith termed his visit to Fermoy in July 1998, following in the aftermath of the decision to close Fitzgerald Army Camp.

Firstly meeting with soldiers, the minister said that closure had been ‘on the cards for many years’, describing conditions at the camp as ‘deplorable’, referring that some of the billets in use (for accommodation) were installed as a temporary measure in 1933 – something he had ‘no intention of standing over’. Representatives from the local branch of the National Spouses’ Association, who had been protesting at the camp’s entrance, then met with the minister, with spokesperson Marion Aherne putting forward ‘a forceful case’ for the deployment of those affected to nearby Lynch Camp, Kilworth.

The minister then met with local TDs and members of Fermoy UDC at The Grand Hotel, where he was left in no doubt as to the gravity of the consequences locally following the decision to close the barracks. All were told that the decision would not be reversed, but that requests to move the men to Lynch Camp would be ‘dealt with sympathetically’.

Surprise twist

There was a surprise twist to the closure of Fitzgerald Camp, when Minister Michael Smith ‘made a gift of the church’ located at the camp, to local clergyman Fr Donal Leahy. Uncertainty had hung over the future of the building, with church sources having indicated that they would be willing to ‘enter negotiations with the Government to secure the building’.

The quiet life

The Avondhu caught up with 103-year-old Julia Hanley from Aherlow, who was settling back into the quiet life following her birthday celebrations. Born in Lisvernane she resided with her cousin in a small cottage in the townland of Ballinacourty, situated between Galbally and Aherlow. Her family were the McDonaghs, well known shopkeepers in Lisvernane, who ‘played an active role in the War of Independence’. With deafness being her only complaint, she could see no reason where there wouldn’t be 104 candles on the cake in 1999!

Changing hands

It was reported that ‘following behind the scenes negotiations’, The Grand Hotel in Fermoy would change hands in July 1998 for in the region of £3 million. Owned by Sean and Winifred Kavanagh since 1992, the building was withdrawn from auction, with it reported that the reserve price was offered in a private deal. The owners expressed their wish to retire from the hotel trade, to concentrate on other business interests.

In sport

Galtee Gaels U16s claimed the South Limerick C football championship in July 1998, comprehensively defeating Castletown/Ballyagran in Knocklong on a scoreline 3-14 to 1-6. Leading 2-9 to 1-4 at the interval, goalkeeper John O’Mahony (capt), William O’Halloran and Chris Gallahue were noted as the Gaels’ stars.

Fermoy lost out to Charleville in the North Cork minor A hurling championship final in July 1998, going under 3-12 to 2-9 in Doneraile. Prior to the final, Jerry Galvin and his selectors were faced with the problem of finding both a replacement goalkeeper and corner forward, with the club’s two regular ‘keepers reported as being unavailable.