One of Ireland’s finest clock-menders has been stood down from fixing the troubled Big Ben clock in London after only two days on the job. The lucrative contract, thought to be around £40m, has been handed to a Swiss firm who came second in the initial contract bids.
Liam Coyle (62) admitted changing the chimes ‘for a laugh’ whilst setting to work on fixing the clock, programming the ancient tower bells to ring out ‘A Nation Once Again’ and ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans’ during various hourly alarms.
Big Ben PR co-ordinator Harry Seals admitted the joke was a source of major embarrassment for the city:
“Coyle’s CV references were good and we had no indication he would do something like this. It wasn’t until we saw a group of Irish men jumping in and out of the river Thames shouting ‘yahoo’, ‘yeooo’ whilst drinking beer that we realised it wasn’t your routine Big Ben chimes. Coyle was replaced immediately.”
One reveller, Johnny Lavery from Belfast, revealed he couldn’t believe his ears when some of the Wolfe Tones songs were being sounded out across London on the famed bells:
“We’d been drowning our sorrows after the rugby but this cheered us right up. As soon as we heard ‘Four Green Fields’ we went clean mad and jumped into the Thames. It was a dangerous enough stunt to be at, what with pollution levels and all, but that music does stuff like that to us, so it does.”
Coyle arrived home to Gortin tonight to a hero’s welcome with over 8 people lining the hedge up to his house.