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News Review 2019: September and October

January 2nd, 2020 7:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Celebrating the High Court decision last month were SOS committee members Brendan McCormack, Fiona Vincent, Brendan McCarthy and Lorelie Rabbitt-Tomko at the town's Square. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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SEPTEMBER

The much-anticipated Taste of West Cork Food Festival, which showcases the best local food producers, and the best produce, got underway this month and as always attracted bumper crowds and a packed programme. We’re sure work is already underway on next year’s event.

Ballydehob’s World Turnip Racing Championships made the front page of the world-famous and prestigious Wall Street Journal. The championships are an integraland much-loved part of the Ballydehob Summer Festival, incorporating the Old Boats Festival, and organisers also ensure that all used turnips are recycled after the event.

In what was one of the worst jobs blows in West Cork’s history, ABP Bandon temporarily laid off 255 of its staff without pay, until further notice. Mainly factory workers, the staff were let go from the Kilbrogan plant during the second week of blockades by protesting beef farmers, which resulted in no goods moving either on, or off, the Bandon site.

The West Cork Women Against Violence (WCWAV) project said it is delighted to finally see a unit to investigate sex crimes and domestic violence incidents opening in Dunmanway Garda Station – which will also mean an additional 15 jobs for the town. Marie Mulholland of WCWAV said the Protective Service Unit would bring a ‘real top notch team with real skills’ to the area.

The female duo behind the award-winning Deasy’s Restaurant in Ring outside Clonakilty announced they would be calling last orders to enjoy a better work/life balance. Elaine Blackwell and chef Caitlin Ruth were the powerhouse behind the restaurant for 16 years, but said the past 12 months had been their most difficult, which contributed to their decision to close for the last time, this New Year’s Eve.

It was announced that the controversial plastics factory, proposed for Skibbereen, was off the table. ‘Job done. It’s over,’ is how Brendan McCarthy, chairman of the Save Our Skibbereen campaign, responded to the news that Daly Products Ltd had formally withdrawn its planning application.

Leap man Danny Crowley, won an Emmy, the equivalent of an Oscar, for his sound-mixing work on the world famous HBO series Game of Thrones. He attended the star-studded ceremony with his partner Emily and described the win as a shocker.

Bandon GAA said they were installing up to 12 CCTV cameras around their grounds to deter those using it as a drinking den and destroying pitches with discarded bottles and cans.

Chairman Ian Doyle said that volunteers and trainers were regularly faced with having to clean up dozens of bottles, some broken, and cans, when they arrive for underage training every other Saturday and Sunday morning.

It was all about the number seven in Innishannon as Barry O’Sullivan – the seventh son of a seventh son – sold the seventh Lotto win of  2019. Barry and his staff sold the winning €5,325,592 Lotto jackpot ticket just hours before the draw. For selling the winning Quick Pick ticket, the shop receivee €15,000 from the National Lottery, and Barry distributed this amongst his 35 staff, which includes some of his nieces and nephews.

Fine Gael’s election plans for West Cork were rattled after the shock announcement by junior minister Jim Daly that he will retire from politics at the next election. Motivated for family reasons, his announcement in a Facebook video caused massive surprise throughout the party.

Skibbereen’s Alicia O’Sullivan was the sole Irish voice at the first UN Youth Climate Action Summit. Alicia was in the second row of the auditorium at the United Nation’s headquarters, listening with rapt attention, when the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gave the speech that rocked the world. Alicia said:  ‘When she spoke those powerful words, I sobbed.’

OCTOBER

THE month opened with the good news that the Ludgate digital hub, which opened in Skibbereen in 2015, was worth €4.2m to the economy of West Cork. IT has also created 54 new jobs directly, and 38 indirectly. T

Clonakilty celebrated its Tidy Towns’ medal, retaining gold, while silvers went to Rosscarbery, Bantry, Kinsale, Skibbereen and Carrigaline.

In Castletownbere, a female motorist told our reporter that she was left extremely shaken after a man exposed himself to her and tried to block her path as she drove into the town late on a Sunday night.

Ireland’s only charity air ambulance announced that it had suprassed its 100th mission after just two months flying. The ICRR chopper was officially launched on September 2nd.

New arrangements to provide school bus transport for stranded students from Ballineen and Enniskeane to Bandon resulted in even more chaos and confusion. An announcement by Senator Tim Lombard confirmed that the Department of Education and Bus Éireann had agreed funding for a 52-seater bus for the students who lost out in August. However, no such bus was forthcoming and nine students were left in limbo with parents having to make alternative arrangements.

Leading figures in West Cork’s hospitality sector hit out at the Government’s decision not to reverse the controversial VAT hike which they introduced in last year’s Budget and said the future looks uncertain for many. General manager of Glengarriff’s Eccles Hotel, David Manning, said the hike from 9% to 13.5% was costing them an extra €112,000 in VAT on food and accommodation sales alone this year.

Bastion restaurant in Kinsale reported getting over 200 emails in just 12 hours from people looking to reserve a spot in their 50-seat restaurant, after winning a coveted Michelin Star. Chef Paul McDonald and his wife Helen Noonan were still toasting their success a week after bagging the Star at the awards ceremony in London.

There was shock on the Mizen when the body of missing fisherman Kodie Healy was located in Dunmanus Bay after a massive recovery operation. He had gone missing two days before his 24th birthday while out lobster potting.

Meanwhile, homeless organisation Novas slammed changes in the way the public can access homeless services, by saying it had put them out of reach of a lot of people living in remote areas of West Cork. The change, implemented by Cork County Council, meant that anyone wanting to present at homeless had to make their way during office hours to the housing dept in Clonakilty.

A huge number of Portuguese man o’war jellyfish were washed up on beaches all along the West Cork coast, while Kilcrohane remembered fondly Timmy Hourihane after hearing news that the man had been murdered while sleeping in a tent in Cork city.

An enormous sink hole that appeared in Allihies was been described as ‘highly dangerous’ and should not be approached because there could be further collapses over the next few days and weeks, the Council warned.

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