The issue of priestly celibacy was the top story 21 years ago as a local councillor began the fight to remove the measure. Cllr Conor O’Callaghan told The Avondhu at the time that he was raising the issue because his constituents had asked him to campaign on their behalf about the church rule. The councillor explained that the purpose of his motion before Cork County Council, was to support and highlight the contribution that members of the clergy make to the community. He said that the removal of celibacy could see a rise in much needed vocations, as the numbers of priests continued to fall. There was a major problem across the region with curates departing their ministries with the numbers of resignations doubling in just eight years. The Mitchelstown councillor told the meeting that the lack of priests was having a profound impact on communities.
The continuing dispute over a lack of parking spaces in Fermoy brought some light at the end of the tunnel, as the Cork Marts group had provided large scale facilities for cars in the Fitzgerald Place and Mill Road area. Dan O’Regan of the Fermoy Fish Market praised the body for its move to provide parking spaces to the town, which would help local businesses.
Glanworth was making efforts to place itself firmly on the map as it launched a strategy to be recognised as “probably Ireland’s most historic village’. The plan, promoting the area as a historic destination, was to ‘build national and international interest around the village’. Historian Ray Metters was one of those who carried out the research to back up the plan. “Glanworth has a variety of historical venues unmatched by villages of comparable size in the country,” he noted. More than 3,500 years old, Labbacallee is one of the Europe’s best preserved megalithic tombs. The site is of particular importance as its construction is unique – inside most of the structures, known as Gallery Graves, there’s a single chamber, but Labbacallee has a second, smaller room at the end of its eastern end.
Conna’s new Credit Union opened to much fanfare and it was announced that it had £1.1 million in savings already deposited in its accounts. It was hailed as a major success because before the opening of the full-time facility, it could open for just one hour per week with voluntary assistance. The building where the credit union was located was in the centre of the village and work had been carried out by a team of craftsmen, led by Dave Feeney. The online computer system allowed the premises to offer payments for ESB and foreign exchange.
Not much changes with crime and its victims in society over 21 years, as the Castletownroche and Bartlemy areas suffered multiple break-ins. Burglaries saw a number of properties entered and gardai issued warnings to residents.
In May 1999, a Kosovo NATO mission was under way to free Kosovar civilians from the clutches of Serbian ultra nationalists. There were calls by the Ballyhooly Christian Solidarity Party at the time to house refugees from the area in Kilmurry House, located on the R666 between Kilworth and Ballyduff.
A new reservoir was under construction for the town of Fermoy and it was nearing completion. Flann Groarke, the senior resident engineer for the area, hailed the efforts of workers to complete the project on time. Pipes were being laid as the reservoir, a large concrete box essentially, was been completed. It was not without difficulties however, as the residents of Pike Road were living with very difficult conditions during the construction, but the engineer told residents that this was soon going to be resolved.
In sport in May 1999, 19-year-old snooker player Avril Murphy from Fermoy was preparing to represent Ireland in the European Women’s Snooker Championship in Holland. Avril was selected for the tournament after a gruelling Irish selection campaign, in which she had vanquished all of her male opponents. Avril’s snooker talent was yet another example of the town’s strong history of success in the sport. Avril was an employee at SCI Ireland and was fully supported by the company. Championship hurling began for Araglin, as they claimed a resounding victory over Ballyclough on a scoreline of 1-22 to 2-3. Mitcheltown Celtic’s top players, Kieran Nolan and PJ Hennebry, were honoured by the club for their efforts during the 1998/99 season. Nolan won the Player of the Year award, while Hennebry took the Top Goalscorer award.