Joan Sweeney, representing the Pipers Inn, was crowned Queen of the Galtees in 1999 following a competition that gripped the region. After a hard fought campaign, she was crowned Mitchelstown’s first citizen in all the glitz and glamour of the festival, being presented with her chain and cloak by the outgoing King of the Galtees, Billy Roche, on the penultimate night of the event.
There was a growing political spat among the Fianna Fail party faithful in North Cork, as it emerged that serving TD and Minister Ned O’Keeffe was found to have sent letters recommending his son for election. As always, internal Fianna Fail squabbles made the news and led the agenda leading up to the vote in the local elections which was just days away, this week in 1999.
At the time there was a bitter election battle under way, as difficult and tetchy exchanges happened for weeks ahead of the vote. But The Avondhu received contact from enraged constituents who said that the O’Keeffe clan were showing favouritism, which went against the rules of the party. The complaints centred around the protocol that as director of elections, Mr O’Keeffe could not recommend one candidate ahead of another. Ned O’Keeffe defended his actions, declaring: ‘I have done nothing wrong’. He said that the director of elections in the contest for county council seats was not held by him, but was in fact held by his colleague, David Dwane and that because of this, he was entitled to recommend whoever he chose in correspondence to voters. He was director of elections for the European contest and said that sending letters out to the public was normal practice. This came just a week after a similar disagreement where Mr O’Keeffe had used a local event to push for the election of Gerard Collins in Europe.
There was also turmoil in the party as Fermoy candidate, Frank O’Flynn was left out of a canvas in Glanworth. Mr O’Flynn claimed that it was an effort to weaken his position.
There were tributes paid to outgoing councillor Conor O’Callaghan at a community council meeting in Mitchelstown. He was praised for his work on the New Square project that saw the centre of the town revamped, but he was also praised for his help to the group during his tenure as a councillor. The community council in Mitchelstown also hailed the hiring of a litter warden to patrol the town on a part-time basis.
While AROMA, or the Amalgamated Residents of Mitchelstown Association, said that a dry run for their Town Litter Challenge was very disappointing. They said that the plan was to have the streets clear of rubbish, but the group said that businesses and residents had not engaged with the strategy. The group appealed to locals to participate in the competition and to have pride in their town.
A housing estate in Kilworth finally was given a formal name, some 30 years after it was built. There was many years of lobbying by locals to have Brennan Place given its rightful name. Before that, the area was known locally as Saint Martin’s Terrace and the residents were well known as activists in the Tidy Towns.
Michael Donegan from Castlelyons was fast making a name for himself on the world stage, as he took part in the globally renowned Riverdance show. He was featured in The Avondhu as he came home for a visit from Europe, where he was performing with the dancing troupe. He had been promoted to the role of understudy to the main lead and had performed at sell out events in Amsterdam. He was on his way to Ottawa, Canada for his next performance and said he was enjoying life on the road.
President Mary McAleese visited Mallow where she opened a new Alzheimer Centre for North Cork, designed to cater for ten patients at a time.
There was rage from the Mitchelstown Business Association (MBA) who were angry that amusements had taken over the New Square during the Festival of the Galtees in 1999. MBA spokesman Pat O’Callaghan said the group were unhappy that so many much-needed parking spaces were removed during the bank holiday celebration.
In sport, there were strong words in the Kildorrery GAA notes as they declared that their junior A footballers had ‘failed miserably’ when they were yet again defeated by their great rivals, Fermoy in the North Cork championship. Also, Castletownroche inflicted a heavy defeat on the Kildorrery junior B side, 4-12 to 1-12. The club noted that they used that match as an opportunity to try out some new substitutes.