October to December
WEST Cork’s food tourism industry was set for a massive boost after restaurants in Ballydehob and Baltimore were awarded coveted Michelin stars. Bookings began pouring in to secure one of the six tables in Ballydehob’s Restaurant Chestnut run by owner and chef Robbie Krawczyk, with a similar story at Baltimore’s Mews, which is owned by Robert Collender and James Ellis.
A private residence in West Cork, along with two business premises in Cork city, was searched as part of a Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) probe into a €3.5m fraud under the Drug Refund Scheme. Meanwhile, the same week a 46-year-old Bandon woman was charged with the murder of Clonakilty man Timothy Foley, who was stabbed in Macroom.
A District Court judge promised to get tough on organisers of teenage discos in West Cork. The judge was speaking at a licensing application case and his comments came in the wake of the February’s incidents of widespread drunkeness at a local teen event. Judge James McNulty called on the directors of three separate discos in the area to attend Bandon District Court the following week to explain how they operate these events and address his concerns about them.
Musician and humanitarian Bob Geldof said he was disappointed that the world-famous famine exhibition at the Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, was a ‘cut-down’ version of what was shown in Dublin. But it turns out, he may simply have not gone upstairs to see the entire exhibition.
It was reported that West Cork primary schools – one each in both Clonakilty and Macroom – were to be examined for possible structural defects. Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty and St Colman’s Boys NS in Macroom were identified as two of the 40 schools built by Western Building Systems (WBS), which may have structural defects.
CLONAKILTY and Glandore can’t be compared to Kanturk, or anywhere in North Cork. That was the message from West Cork councillors to their North Cork colleagues regarding controversial new tourism branding. At a county council meeting Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF), while outlining his concerns in relation to the ‘Pure Cork’ brand, said: ‘The Pure Cork brand is confusing to say the least. You cannot compare Clonakilty with Kanturk, and we can’t highlight properly all that West Cork has to offer if you do not focus on what this part of the county has to offer in comparison to other areas.’
After the huge success of the cataract buses, which have already brought 250 people from the South West to Belfast for life-changing surgery, now a similar service for hip and knee replacements was launched. The knee and hip ‘express’ was announced by West Cork’s Independent TD Michael Collins, who has been organising the cross-border surgeries with his Dail colleague, Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae.
An additional €18m will be spent on roads, housing and water services by Cork County Council next year, compared to 2018, a local authority meeting was told, as councillors passed their annual €344m budget – but only after a marathon five hours of debating, and two recesses.
Colette Twomey of the world famous Clonakilty Food Company was announced as winner of the Mayor’s award for ‘Outstanding West Cork Business Ambassador’ to be awarded at the inaugural Southern Star West Cork Business and Tourism Awards.
For one heart-stopping moment, the owner of Spar Cork Road, Skibbereen, thought the €1m winning lottery ticket might have been his. Paul Connolly, who has run the Spar Applegreen service station for the last 20 years, said that when the National.
tional Lottery rang him at 10pm on a Saturday to say the €1m winning €6 Quick Pick was purchased at his store, he dared to think it might have been his. But it wasn’t. The prise was since claimed by a local couple - who nearly recycled the winning ticket.
Meanwhile, a family was left devastated after their beloved pet cat was mauled to death by a pack of hounds near Newcestown at the weekend. The cat, which its owners had since it was a kitten, was savagely killed by the dogs as they passed through a nearby farmyard in Mossgrove on a Sunday afternoon while hunting.
WEST Cork now has its own Brexit – the ‘Barryroe exit’ – a meeting on the changes to local election boundaries heard. The West Cork municipal district is to be controversially split in two, with Barryroe, along with the villages of Ring, Darrara, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, Lislevane and Butlerstown, being moved into the Bandon/Kinsale municipal district.
Storm Diana showed her dirty side as she battered West Cork from early on a Wednesday morning. With a status ‘Orange’ alert in place by Met Eireann from 6am and extended up until after lunchtime, commuters found themselves contending with fallen trees, while several areas, including Bantry and Macroom, suffered power outages from dawn.
The planning appeals board – An Bord Pleanála (ABP) – granted permission for a plastics factory to go ahead in Skibbereen, despite its own inspector recommending it be refused. ABP voted by 2:1 in favour of allowing the factory, which is to be built by Daly Products Ltd, to go ahead at Poundlick, on the edge of town.
Meanwhile, it almost felt that an election was in the air, as announcements were made in the same week that Skibbereen’s digital hub Ludgate had secured funding of €2m from Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and Bantry General Hospital was to get nearly €10m for new endoscopy and rehabilitation units.
A business association in Beara upped the ante in its campaign to oppose a controversial traffic plan for the town, and requested ‘meaningful engagement’ from Cork County Council. Finbarr Harrington, chairman of the newly-formed Concerned Businesses Association Castletownbere (CBAC), said: ‘We are sending out a clear message that there is a group of residents and retailers who are concerned about the plan because it will bypass the town, illogically reverse the flow of traffic, and eliminate valuable parking spaces.’
A Bandon councillor called for the immediate demolition, or remediation, of a building that collapsed at Oliver Plunkett Street in the early hours of a Tuesday morning, adding that a safety audit should now be carried out on adjacent buildings. Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said it is imperative that there is a plan in place to make the area safe for pedestrians, residents and business owners. ‘I know of one newly-refurbished business and the owners can’t gain access to it as a result of the street being closed off,’ she said.
A West Cork restaurant offered to host the residents of Clonakilty’s direct provision centre for a Christmas lunch. Monk’s Lane in Timoleague extended the open invite to all of the 96 people of various nationalities who currently reside there. The restaurant/bar is run by husband and wife team Gavin and Michelle Moore, who decided to host the event after Michelle’s sister Siobhán was involved in fundraising for the centre, as part of a Cork-based campaign to help those in direct provision. The lunch was a huge success.