Just a week after the arrival of new phone kiosks for Fermoy was being hailed, Councillor Tadhg O’Donovan declared in July 1999 that Telecom Eireann had installed booths that were not functioning. He blasted the company and accused them of not being committed to Fermoy, after he tried to use one of the new phones only to find it not been connected to a phone line. He accused Telecom Eireann of ‘denying the public the service that they so richly deserve’.
Water scheme contractors were asked to resurface the Cork Road in Fermoy as a show of goodwill to local residents who had suffered with construction work for weeks. Councillor John Dunlea said that road resurfacing should commence as soon as pipe laying work concluded: “This would show progress is being made and would be a wonderful gesture to local people. It would also look much better,” he declared.
There was much joy in Mitchelstown as the New Square refurbishment made the town’s once neglected public space a attractive centrepiece. But disappointment followed, as it emerged that there was no money left to place seating in the area despite it being listed in plans. Originally it was thought that community groups would provide money for the furniture but this target wasn’t met in time. The various associations were asked to redouble their efforts and secure funding for the benches.
The rising scourge of drug taking saw Coalition of Communities Against Drugs (COCAD) holding a meeting at a pub in Mitchelstown. COCAD were to focus on the youth of the town and would have a recovering drug addict to talk about his experiences of fighting against addiction.
Mary Ryall of Ballyhooly caused great excitement when she appeared on the National Lottery’s Fame and Fortune show. Mary took home a cheque for £8,000, but declared she had no plans on how to spend the money. The Avondhu declared that the winner was a ‘party person and will certainly enjoy spending the money’.
June 2020 brought the announcement that Mitchelstown would see a major plan to transform the townscape in to a Georgian quarter for tourists, however back in 1999 things were very different. The Avondhu was reporting on a desperate plea by the local heritage group to restore the glory of Kingston College. Local activist Bill Power was calling on the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands to order a detailed architectural study to prevent further disrepair and decay of the unique structure. Mr Power had said that the wider historical importance of Kingston College could not be undervalued. He explained that the College is ‘arguably the most significant site of Georgian houses outside of Dublin’ and he stressed the importance of preservation. Kingston College was said to have a direct link to literary colossus Oscar Wilde. It was claimed that Mary Travers had lived there and was a patient of the writer’s father, Dr William Wilde, who she accused of sexual assault which led to a notorious and infamous trial. Mr Power also said that there were connections to various Lord Chief Justices, having been built between the 1760s and 1770s to house elderly people. It was thought that £3 million would be needed to refurbish the college.
The sad death of Tom Cusack, president of Mitchelstown Trout Anglers, was marked in the newspaper. Tom was 83 and enjoyed good health all his life and had been working in his shop right up to his death. He was a dedicated fly fisherman and had a vast experience and knowledge of angling and water protection, which was much respected and sought after. “A gentleman to his finger tips, he had an aura and presence to command immediate attention always engaging in informative conversation,” the tribute said.
A ministerial order was causing ire in the county council chamber as Councillor Aileen Pyne called on the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources to rescind its direction to block the use of crustaceans as bait in angling. Cllr Pyne said that it endangered Blackwater fishing tourism in the area and it was feared that it would greatly effect the economy of small villages desperate for tourist cash.
In sport – St Catherines GAA were celebrating a 1-14 to 2-7 victory over Ballyhea in senior hurling as they recorded a hat-trick of victories in the championship against their rivals Kieran Morrison their goal scorer. Meanwhile, there was a draw for Kildorrery against Mill Rovers in their encounter, with the sides scoring 0-10 to 1-7 respectively.
Fermoy Rowing Club were looking forward to the 1999 national championships to be staged in Inniscarra Lake.