With annual running costs of £40,000, a lack of sufficient sponsorship brought the announcement in May 1997 of the unexpected cancellation of the Mitchelstown Music Festival – an event which had brought a much needed boost to the local economy annually during the August bank holiday weekend. A disappointment to many, the festival had grown to be ‘one of the largest free music festivals in the country’, with, at its height, an estimated 20,000 music fans having ‘thronged the square’ in 1995 to see super-group Boyzone.
Correspondence received by Fermoy UDC in early May 1997 from solicitors representing Cllr John Hussey, gave notification that the High Court proceedings threatened against the UDC and its chairman, Richie O’Leary, had been called off. Cllr Hussey informed The Avondhu that he had decided to withdraw his legal action ‘so that the town and its Council would not have to go through what could be a lengthy court case’, adding that he felt ‘he had proved a point by taking the action in the first place’. A case that ‘could have cost Fermoy UDC several thousands of pounds in costs’ if it had proceeded, the move was welcomed by Town Clerk, Michael Cremin, stating he hoped ‘the Council could now get back to the business of managing the affairs of the town’. Cllr Hussey stated he was ‘at a loss’ as to why his motion at the January meeting of the UDC in 1997 was not accepted, which resulted in matters taking the legal route, however he felt that ‘the current chairman had a problem with his presence in the council chamber’. Something chairman O’Leary ‘rejected out of hand’, stating he was a ‘democrat’ who had previously supported motions put forward by Cllr Hussey. The question now was, would the ‘expected’ apology from Cllr Hussey be forthcoming at the May 1997 UDC meeting.