Tom Walsh, Liam Lyons and Geraldine Murphy enjoying the Ballysaggart Macra fundraising night in 1996.

In pleasant September sunshine in 1996, Killavullen hosted representatives of church and state for the official opening of the refurbished and extended local national school. Special guests of honour, Minister for Education Niamh Bhreathnach and Bishop John Magee, were given a guided tour of the new classrooms, resource centre and general purpose room by principal Carmel Nagle, with parish priest Fr Gould and curate Fr O’Connor, assisting Bishop Magee with the official blessing of the facility. 24 pupils entertained the dignitaries, playing ‘Dublin In The Rare Old Times’ in honour of Ms Bhreathnach and ‘Star Of The County Down’ for Bishop Magee.

Following 40 years of distinguished service, popular branch manager at AIB Fermoy, Tim O’Sullivan, retired – his successor being Marianne Harris, who received promotion from the bank’s Blackpool branch.

Foul name-calling caused the September 1996 meeting of the Mallow Area Roads Committee to end prematurely, with chairman Ted O’Riordan adjourning proceedings following a member’s refusal to withdraw a comment made about a fellow councillor. Up for discussion was the restructuring of various committees operated by the council, in order to provide a better service and ‘bring democracy closer to the people’. Supported by most members present, Senator Joe Sherlock however rejected the planned restructure, ‘alleging that it would bring about the emergence of more “talking shops”’. In an outburst aimed at Cllr Conor O’Callaghan, who supported the proposals, Senator Sherlock called the Mitchelstown councillor ‘a “shite” who he would never lower himself to seek information from.’ A trading of comments ensued, with Deputy Paul Bradford proposing a motion that Senator Sherlock withdraw the comment, a motion seconded by Deputy Ned O’Keeffe. However, the refusal to do so by Senator Sherlock, saw the chairman adjourn the meeting.

Fermoy Rowing Club was afforded a civic reception by the UDC. One of the town’s most active and successful clubs, titles at national and international level were secured by club members that year – coxless fours national title for Sharon and Louise Bermingham, Michelle O’Connor and Claire Cliffe; individual gold titles for Michelle O’Connor and Paul Hickey in Holland; Gearoid Towey World U23 single sculls champion. Minister Bernard Allen TD was also in attendance, where he officially launched a new coxless fours boat, the Cuilfhionn Fhearmui.

Celebrating three decades of trading, the Walsh Sisters Hair Salon, based at Lower Cork Street, Mitchelstown marked their significant business milestone with a 3-page feature in The Avondhu in September 1996. Sisters Margaret and Geraldine, along with long time employee Mary Lane, offered a friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the salon, along with a beauty element to the business, with Margaret specialising in Nutri-Metrics (organic cosmetics). New technology at the salon offered customers the opportunity to visualize hundreds of hairstyles through computer imaging – 24 styles on video for £20 or 12 styles for £16 (price included videotape!).

Traffic woes in Fermoy town continued unabated in 1996 and with the reality of a bypass some years away, elected representative and businessman, Michael Hanley highlighted the issue, concerned at the ‘apparent indifference of the authorities involved’ to provide a solution. With the quiet obvious central problem being Fermoy’s placement on the main Cork/Dublin route, it was reported the traffic lights at Pearse Square could not cope with the ‘substantial increase in car numbers’. While ongoing roadworks at Rathcormac, some 4 miles outside the town, was seeing traffic ‘gathered’ in sizeable numbers there, before being released into Fermoy, causing further congestion. Mr Hanley suggested a two-pronged approach to tackle the problem – firstly, the local authority to take a ‘serious look’ at the traffic light system in Pearse Square, including using flashing amber lighting and the possible trialing of a roundabout; secondly, a Garda presence in the town centre to accommodate busy periods such as work and school-going traffic.

A string of underage successes in GAA circles in September 1996 – Skeheenarinky U12 hurlers recorded an emphatic 6-8 to 2-4 victory over St Patricks (Drangan) in the South Tipperary divisional final in Kilsheelan, the side was captained by Brendan Finn. Bride Rovers U14 footballers travelled to Caherlag, securing the East Cork league title with victory over Aghada on a scoreline 4-5 to 0-5 – captain was David Brophy; while Watergrasshill U14 camogie ladies were crowned county B league champions, defeating Carrigtwohill in Caherlag, 3-1 to 0-3 – Brid O’Neill captained the side.