There was fury and rage mounting in the area 21 years ago as locals in Fermoy riled against the plan to impose parking charges in the town. Local businessman David Ryan said he received very strong reaction to the previous week’s article in The Avondhu about the Fermoy UDC plans to introduce pay parking at the new Mill Island car park. “I am appalled by the attitude of our elected councillors. We are not against charges for parking, but the council should wait and see what effect the new parking facilities will have on the situation. The traders who pay half the rates in the town are not being listened to in all this. It is the customers who will be most affected and this in turn could have a negative impact on our business,” Mr Ryan said. He was advocating for free parking on the street and a 20p or 30p charge in car parks.
The Mitchelstown Youth Association declared in November 1999 that their programme was a ‘runaway success’ as they had full membership. Their activities included discos in the Town Hall, as well as outings for bowling in the Leisureplex Centre in Cork City. The committee found that they were overwhelmed with the huge numbers interested in the group and had closed membership. “We would like to thank all those who have given of their time to date in supporting the committee and we look forward to continued input from more parents,” association chairman Tom Cunningham told The Avondhu.
There was a lot of disquiet following a walk out by three councillors at a Fermoy UDC meeting. Councillors Michael Hanley, Richard O’Leary and John Dunlea all walked out of the estimates meeting, protest with Councillor Aileen Pyne over the allocation of money to local groups. Cllr Hanley accused Cllr Pyne of showing favouritism to certain people in the town. It appeared to centre around the allocation of monies to a group dealing with the impact on the town of a proposed bypass. Heated debate saw a dramatic display by Cllr Hanley who declared, ‘I’m going, I have been elected to represent the people and you’re not allowing discussion’. His comments were directed at Cllr Pyne as the meeting descended into disarray. Cllr John Hussey criticised the local representatives and called it an ‘organised stunt’. Other councillors took a vote of confidence in Cllr Pyne’s chairwomanship and the meeting continued.
There was also good news for Fermoy as it was set to see a funding bonanza, as its application was accepted for the Town Renewal Scheme. The urban district was one of seven towns selected from twenty five applications throughout Cork County for the scheme, with the aim of revitalising the centres of small urban areas. There was some disquiet that Mitchelstown was not included in the allocation. There were also tax incentives as part of the scheme and it was expected these would play a critical role in rejuvenating several derelict and decayed buildings in the town. The news was welcomed by local auctioneers, public representatives and the general business community.
Kingston College, Mitchelstown was celebrating a major injection of funding as it secured £1.5m in grant aid. The area received the cash in recognition of the importance of the buildings’ involvement in the local heritage scene. The grant was announced by Robert Molloy, the Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, under his Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme. Local Minister Ned O’Keeffe was basking in the glow of a successful lobbying campaign and said that it was wonderful news – “I am delighted to have been part of the lobbying process to get this very important project grant aided. The amount awarded is greater than we could have ever expected and should see the project completed. It will give a new lease of life to this historic area of the town and will also prove a great fillip for the residents there,” he said. Work was due to commence in March 1999.
In sport, there was great joy for Mill Rovers as captain Christopher Relihan raised the County Minor B Hurling Championship Cup following their victory over Ballinascarthy, held in Ballygarvan in November 1999. The communities of Castletownroche and Shanballymore celebrated the 1-13 to 2-9 victory, in what was described as a thrilling contest.
Tributes were paid to Killavullen referee Pat O’Brien on his retirement from keeping order at GAA matches. His final outing was at a junior hurling championship match in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.