A New Year … as the old one ends with much positivity in West Cork
The arrival of 2017 heralds a year of special significance for us in The Opinion, as it marks the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the publication back in 1977. We are delighted that this January issue is jam-packed with positive news, unlike this time last year when we carried a 9 page flooding report after Bandon and, to a lesser extent, Skibbereen suffered huge devastation in the wake of various storms, most notably Storm Desmond and later Frank. It led to 1,800 people coming out and protesting on the streets of Bandon. Thankfully the flood relief schemes for both Bandon and Skibbereen are now well underway. However the issue of flood insurance for residents and traders continues to be of major concern and in this regard a bus carrying people from Skibbereen, Bandon and Cork travelled to Dáil Eireann this month to be present for the moving of a Bill by Deputy Michael McGrath (FF). Skibbereen received good news in relation to its new Drainage Scheme and the West Cork Breakfast Briefing, hosted by Cork County Council in the Celtic Ross Hotel, heard of wonderful new initiatives and plans for the region from Tim Lucey CEO and the County Mayor of Cork, Seamus McGrath.
Other related issues covered in this issue include news that the new Leader programme commenced on December 1st and Independent TD Michael Collins has been vocal in relation to the poor mobile phone coverage in parts of this region, demanding swift action. In the sporting arena we feature some unique stories relating to athletes, with West Cork connections, excelling in greener pastures abroad and we also highlight the successes of some of the clubs that didn’t make the headlines in recent months due to the incredible achievements of teams playing in the higher grades.
Well done to Castlehaven GAA Club on their imaginative new development that includes a fine stand at their grounds. We also applaud the winners of the SuperValu West Cork Garda Youth Awards for showing exemplary leadership in a host of areas. Still with young people we publish an insightful and valuable piece on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (J.I.A.) by Bandon lady Áine O’Donovan. Meet Thomas Dekkers, who will be working as a physio with the Cork senior footballers. We never fail to be impressed by the generosity of the people of West Cork. Over a two page spread in this issue, €82,000 was presented to charities and there are more featured elsewhere in the magazine.
Once Christmas is over, we in The Opinion begin thinking of our Annual Awards Ceremony, which we run with the generous support of Bandon Co-op. Now the longest established Community & Sports Awards in Munster, we are seeking nominations in many different categories. Always conscious of keeping the magazine fresh, we are introducing a new Wildlife & Heritage series this month and we have another exciting new column at the planning stage. Miriam O’Callaghan graced the Strictly Clon Dancing charity event in December but the town that took control of the dance floors this month was Skibbereen. Strictly O’Donovan Rossas proved a resounding success and for those who missed out, another night is planned for early January.
Finally as related elsewhere, our bumper Christmas Annual attracted an amazing reaction this year and we appreciate all our readers who went to the trouble to compliment us on the publication. For those who missed it, there are still a limited number of copies available in some outlets. Best of luck with your New Year’s resolutions.
Until next month