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News Review 2019: July and August

January 1st, 2020 7:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) proposed to Catherine Biggs by painting his proposal on his favourite cow Butters.

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JULY

BRIGHT and early one Monday morning in July, Cllr Declan Hurley painted a proposal on one of his cows at his farm in Dunmanway. She said ‘yes’ – his girlfriend that is, not the cow. Declan met his intended – Catherine Biggs, from Mayo – at Dunmanway Agricultural Show on July 1st 2018. Declan admits he was smitten when he first met Catherine, and thought it would be highly appropriate to propose in a field, on their anniversary. Very moo-ving we have to agree!

A Southern Star news special found that more and more young people from West Cork were looking for help for mental health problems from the local HSE-run service in a single year. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) unit in Dunmanway had 1,975 appointments in 2017. Last year, that increased to 2,823. By May of this year, the unit had already seen 1,590 young people. The service deals with children and teens who are struggling with things like bullying, self-esteem issues, sexuality issues, eating disorders, suicidal behaviour, anxiety and social isolation. The Southern Star went on to win an award for its news special.

There was also an increase in sexual offences in West Cork according to crime stats from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The number of recorded sexual offences was reported as 29, up 13 for the same period in 2018, according to the statistics. Meanwhile, the number of other sexual offences – which includes child pornography offences, gross indecency – recorded for the first quarter of this year was 23 which was up 20 on the same period.

The new Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin, apologised for historical child abuse at the hands of the church. While peaking to congregations at two separate Sunday masses in Skibbereen, Bishop Gavin said: ‘We can never allow this to happen again.’ He continued: ‘To those who have lost their faith or are struggling to hang on in there, particularly because of the awful things that individuals or institutions have done in the name of the Church, we need to stretch out a hand of dialogue and listen so that their voices are heard,’ he said, ‘so that we can apologise once again and learn from the awful things that were allowed to happen.’

Skibbereen councillor Joe Carroll was elected chairman of the powerful Southern Regional Assembly and said he would use the role to drive employment and growth from Bantry to Beara. Cllr O’Carroll (FF) said he feels national planners are largely neglecting the needs of West Cork.

A group of West Cork friends pooled their money, bought a yacht and headed off on an adventure around the world. The four West Cork lads, Gerald O’Sullivan from Bantry, Damien Collins from Durrus,  Eoin Dennehy from Castlehaven and Paul Ryan from Rossmore, along with five other Cork friends, and one from Tipperary, were all working, literally ‘down under’ in the tunnels in Sydney when they decided to buy a 44ft, 11 bunk, sailing yacht  for $67,000 in Malaysia. While they had little experience of the high seas, the lads were not totally unprepared - they bought the book Sailing for Dummies. They made headlines a few times during the year!

AUGUST

TWO major environmental campaigns in West Cork – run primarily by small community-based pressure groups – got a huge boost this month when both achieved success in their court challenges in Dublin. The Save Our Skibbereen (SOS) campaign welcomed the news that the High Court had quashed a decision by An Bord Pleanala (ABP) to grant permission for a plastics factory in the town. This was just hours after the group campaigning against the mechanical harvesting of kelp in Bantry Bay were told that the licence earlier issued for the seaweed harvesting was, in effect, incomplete.

Ballydehob’s Fionn Ferreira was announced the winner of the prestigious Google Science Fair in California for water filtration system, designed to free our oceans from harmful microplastics. The 18-year-old former student of Schull Community won the prize of €45,000 for his project which was inspired by West Cork.

The families of those killed in the 1979 Whiddy disaster in Bantry Bay  launched a fundraising drive to cover the cost of a High Court battle with the State. The families announced that they will apply to the High Court to have the victims’ death certificates rectified, given they believe the deaths were ‘unlawful’.

The 40th anniversary of the Fastnet Rock disaster saw the terrifying ordeal of the Fastnet yacht race in 1979 recalled which claimed the lives of 15 competitors and led to the biggest ever rescue operation along the south coast of Ireland in peacetime, claiming the lives of 15 competitors.

In what was a long summer of roadworks, the manager of the Celtic Ross Hotel said their business was down at least €25,000 because road resurfacing works on the N71 had overrun by almost three months. Neil Grant, manager of the Rosscarbery hotel, criticised both Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and contractors Arkil Ltd for the delays in finishing the project on time and the fact that some surfaces had to be dug up a second time and resurfaced.

Gardai urged older people to take greater precautions after a woman in her 70s was assaulted at her home in Schull. She was struck by burglars after she walked in on the two men ransacking her belongings in a caravan at Lowertown, on a Saturday afternoon.

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