Former US diplomat Richard Haass has admitted defeat for the second time in a couple of days after his efforts to resolve the Ardboe Christmas Tree dispute ended in several parties tearing the heads off each other.
The argument revolved around who will turn off the lights on Ardboe’s first ever Christmas tree. Mickey Coleman, Brian McGuigan, Barry Devlin, Adrian McGuckin, Chris Lawn, Tom McGurk, Malachi Cush, Ronan McSherry, Dennis Taylor, Kevin McAleer, Mickey Harte, Pope Francis and Billy Ray Cyrus were all named as interested parties, each putting forward viable reasons for pulling the plug out.
Haass, who admitted Ardboe was a ‘wild place’ on a par with Kosovo and Sierra Leone, was able to narrow it down to four celebs after intense negotiations:
“We managed to rule out McGuckin and Lawn as we suspected they were there to sabotage the event, being enemies in some shape or form. The cost for the Pope was astronomical. Apart from the flights, the pot holes would wreck the popemobile. No insurance around here. Harte, McAleer, McSherry, Taylor, Cush and McGurk were ruled out next during the eel-skinning demonstration.”
With Coleman, McGuigan, Devlin and Billy Ray Cyrus left, tensions were beginning to reach boiling point with accusations of bribes and counter arguments over ancestry muddying the waters.
“I thought dealing with Robinson and McGuinness was tough. These guys are stubborn. It ended up in a bare-knuckle contest between all four.”
Haass left the scene an hour into the free-for-all, admitting defeat and vowing never to return to the island again.