Controversy greeted the annual Festival of the Galtees 21 years ago this week, due to a political spat over the identity of the man who was to perform the official opening. 

Gerard Collins, the then MEP, was set to officiate at the event but one local councillor, Conor O’Callaghan, claimed that the ceremony had been highjacked by political forces. 

The councillor claimed that an earlier Saint Patrick’s Day event saw two political heavyweights given centre stage. Those big names were then TD Ned O’Keeffe and Fianna Fail MEP Gerry Collins. 

O’Callaghan said he would boycott the event because he claimed it was: ‘overly political and Mr Collins’s presence, while welcome, should have been with the other public representatives on the stage’.

At the time there was a hard fought election campaign underway with a lot of local politicians feeling the heat.

The councillor’s issue seemed to circle around the fact that he believed the festival was being used as a Fianna Fail electioneering vehicle.  

In The Avondhu Cllr O’Callaghan said he raised his concerns with committee members and said: ‘I would think it inappropriate to have any one candidate running in any election for whatever party performing such a function one week before polling’. 


Meanwhile concern over heavy traffic through Mitchelstown was a constant topic of discussion. There were claims that trucks passing through the town were causing ‘untold damage’ to buildings and were a nuisance to residents. 

The fact that large HGVs were passing down the main street ‘hundreds of times a day’, was causing great upset for locals.

There was ample evidence of the impact with an engineer’s report, obtained by The Avondhu, showing that the street was subsiding and causing extensive undulations and potholes in the road surface. 

The blame was fixed on heavy goods trucks and that a local business had suffered so much that their property had been ‘devalued considerably’.

The local business people called on the council to carry out work to halt the destruction of buildings by limiting the vibrations caused by HGVs passing through the town. 


Families housed in Beechield Flats, Fermoy, were complaining that their accommodation was too cramped and had appealed to the County Council for help. 

Local woman Moira Dingivan, was living in a one bedroom flat with her two children and she said she was forced to sleep on cushions on the sittingroom floor. 

She said she was five months pregnant and had been reassured that the one bedroom accommodation was a temporary measure but two years on, she was still living with her two children in the one bed flat. 

Another local woman Noreen Coady, was also sharing a bedroom with her two sons. There was a lot of friction also caused between elderly residents and young families. The group had appealed to councillors to help them solve the problem. 


A picturesque walkway along the River Blackwater at Barnane was under threat after the council shelved a plan to carry out work to save it from erosion. 

Fermoy Urban District Council decided to halt the proposed works to make it secure when it was discovered that it would be an expensive endeavour.

The price tag was a whopping £105,000 and council officials were depending on EU grant aid that would only cover 30% of the eventual cost. 


There were calls for a dedicated ambulance for Mitchelstown when a child suffering from deadly meningitis was rushed to hospital not by medics, but by gardai. 

Then Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe said that it was time to act to save lives and said that he had raised the issue on a number of occasions. At the time there was no movement on providing an ambulance for the town by the Southern Health Board. 

Fire Station

There were plans for a new fire station in Fermoy and as election fever loomed it looked likely that the facility would get the green light. The fire station proposal was part of a major strategy to congregate all services in the town in close proximity. 

The new station was planned to accommodate two tenders with office, conference room, store room, plant room, workshop and showering facilities for the fire fighters. 


There were concerns about a proposed development in the Castletownroche area with a company planning to have an industrial sludge composting operation in the area. 

The waste would be transported from factories in Cork city to the facility – locals were set to hold a meeting to organise opposition to the plan. 


In sport Glenville GAA were hailed for their spirited performance that saw them come back from from a four point deficit to beat Castlemartyr 2-7 to 0-10 in a championship football match. 

There was a world record holder in Kilbehenny with Con Griffin lifting 56lb weights in each hand 26 times to set the new benchmark for the straight arm lift.