So far, the controversy hasn’t reared its head in Waterford but there are storm clouds gathering in various parts of the country regarding land that was rezoned for house construction but never built upon. Developers often paid inflated prices for the lands while others forked out a lot of money on hidden infrastructure such as sewerage and cable ducts before actual building took place. Then came the recession and everything stopped.

But if the developers and builders thought they could sit back and wait until the economic climate became favourable again for house construction, they were wrong. Quite a few local authorities carried out surveys and came to the conclusion that too much land was rezoned and they now intend to de-zone it back to agricultural status which means the owners will suddenly have assets worth a lot less than at present.

For instance, Kerry County Council wants to de-zone 200 acres in Killorglin Town leaving just 52 acres zoned residential while 33 acres of residential land in Glenbeigh would be reduced to 11 acres. Management insists it will not be liable for compensation and points out that, at present, there is six-times more land zoned residential than is needed for the next six years.

However, the developers and landowners who will lose millions of euro if the de-zoning takes place have threatened legal action if necessary.

On Monday last, there was war when a Council meeting on the subject was adjourned for the second time amid heated debate. Fine Gael representatives said new information had arisen and a private meeting was required to discuss those matters. But Independent Councillor, Brendan Cronin, and Councillor Toireasa Ferris of Sinn Fein accused them of buckling under pressure from developers. Under no circumstances have we heard the last of this!

Trouble on the steps of the Cathedral

First Holy Communion Days are supposed to be happy, family occasions but parishioners in Cavan Twon had a nasty shock last week when an incident broke out before the service and ended up with the gardai being called to restore peace and to remain on to supervise the service.

Apparently, what was described as ‘an ugly cat-fight’ between two women, during which neither party ‘held back’ marred what should have been a memorable occasion for children and their families. Shocked children and parents watched helplessly and in dismay as fists flew on the steps of the Cathedral in a battle that raged for about 25 minutes.

Fr Ultan McGoohan, who presided at the Mass, confirmed that the incident did take place and said it was a terribly upsetting incident for the fifty First Communicants and their loved ones and the fight did put a dampener of the early part of the proceedings.

However, Fr McGoohan said he could not confirm local rumours that the two women at the centre of the row had fallen out over the size of two large Hummer vehicles, one pink and one white, hired to carry families to the ceremony!

‘Because she was worth it’

And speaking of rows, a Judge in a County Mayo court case came to the conclusion that a mini-riot in a Crossmolina pub was caused by a young woman because she believed ‘she was worth it’.

The play on the famous television advertisement was put forward by Judge Mary Devins who also described the young woman in question as ‘a modern day Helen of Troy’. Seven men appeared before the court in connection with the fracas in Stick’s Bar that involved punches and bar-stools. According to the evidence, it all kicked off when the girlfriend of one of the men complained to her boyfriend that she had been insulted.

Judge Devins said the girl had been ‘the fuel that made the smouldering fire between the two parties erupt into flames’. The case did not make for edifying reading or hearing and the young woman did nothing to prevent or stop the fight because she was amazingly secure in her conviction that her actions were justified and that ‘she was worth it’.

Gerry Walsh and Dallas

Congratulations to professional singer and entertainer Gerry Walsh from Portlaw on the recent release of his new country-music album. Entitled ‘Gerry Walsh – Enjoy My Music’ the CD contains 15 tracks of well loved songs associated with Gerry, some from his days with The Cowboys, Maurice Mulcahy Orchestra and Dallas. Gerry is one of those rare singers whom fate has smiled upon because, if anything, his rich voice has improved over the years. Co-produced by Tony Woods and recorded under the watchful eye of Brian O’Reilly at Fiona Studios in Fermoy, the album is available direct from Gerry at 086-2507039.

Don’t mess with Fr James

An elderly parish priest, living in County Waterford, was driving to celebrate early Mass on Sunday last when he saw a large object in the middle of the road just as he rounded a dangerous bend. Thinking at first that it was a person who had been knocked down, Fr James stopped his car and rushed over to render assistance. However, he was relieved to discover that the object was not human but the carcass of a pig. He had no idea how it came to be on the road but, fearful that the dead animal would cause an accident if people came around the bend at speed, Fr James tried to move the pig onto the side of the road. But he wasn’t as strong as he used to be and he was unable to lift the heavy load. Being a responsible motorist, he decided to call the gardai on his mobile and stay on the scene and warn motorists approaching the bend.

“Well now, Father, that’s a strange one indeed”, chuckled the good humoured garda who answered his call. “Tell me”, continued the garda, full of his fun, “did you administer the last rites to the deceased?”

Normally the kindest and mildest of men, Fr James was sweating profusely, was late for Mass and was in no mood for the garda’s humour. “No, my son”, he snarled into the phone, “I didn’t because I thought it better to inform his next of kin first!”