A retired Ardboe pensioner is facing up to 10 years in Maghaberry after he admitted to training his collie Pebbles to bark ‘f**k Derry’ on command when being visited by relatives from the Derry side of Ballinderry.
Gerry ‘Queen’ Quinn, who was previously cautioned for teaching his pet budgerigar to sing Wolfe Tones songs during a 12th July parade in Coagh, revealed he trained the dog to utter obscenities aimed at the Oak Leaf county over a period of four years, treating Pebbles to cheeseburgers and chips after tasks were accomplished.
Judge Peter Campbell added:
“This was a systematic pattern of training pets to do his dirty work. We have it on good authority that he had three cats undergoing similar training, targeting a wide range of government officials using verbal and physical tactics. He is like a Dark Dr Doolittle, doing a lot of damage.”
Quinn has decided not to appeal the decision when it is handed down, claiming it was worth it “to see the look on them tramps’ faces”.
Pebbles has been handed over to the RSPCA to be retrained to bark more normal local things like ‘ghost oh it’s tarra’ and ‘are ye blind, ref?’.
In order to combat the sharp decline in plastering skills in the county, the Tyrone County Council have opened a School of Plastering in Kildress which will teach youngsters who aspire to be plasterers the basic skills in the trade. The move comes after a series of street protests all over the county complaining about the cowboy spreading jobs being carried out in most new developments.
Peter Carney, a plasterer from Clonoe with 44 years experience, fully supports the new school:
“It has been a long time coming. I stopped taking on apprentices after a series of unbelievable mishaps last year. I took on a team of young lads from Brocagh and Derrylaughan for a big job in the Moy. Never again. I told one of them to scratch a wall for me. I came back an hour later and he was literally scratching a wall with his fingernails the way you’d scratch a cat. The poor fellow’s fingers were dripping with blood. Another boy was using the bible as a straight edge.”
Jack Kelly (61) from Galbally added:
“I took a nephew from Greencastle on last month. He arrived with what he thought were the tools needed. He brought a rubber duck (plastic float), a pet budgie (hawk) and a towel (trowel). And his da’s a spark too. I told him to go out and get a scratching tool and he came with nothing but a worried face and said ‘sure I can scratch ye’. I’d have been better off taking my ma with me and she’s 97 and deaf but a damn decent spread.”
So far 300 have signed up for the Plastering Summer School with the first week’s topic “How To Use A Darby” already in progress. Mary Farrell, a mother to 7 teenage sons, says all her lads will be attending:
“It was either that of the Gaeltacht. There’ll be plenty of time for curtin’ when they’re older so it’s off to the spreading school for them. There’ll be no curtin’ there hopefully.”
A place on the Spreading Degree course costs £300 and runs for 6 weeks.
A veterinary surgeon has billed a Dungannon belt-maker £100 for thinking about his dog after spotting it outside its owner’s house whilst out for a Sunday drive. In another example of the astronomical costs dished out by vets in recent years, Paddy Morgan says he had no choice but to pay the bill in case he needs him in the future to see to his ten gerbils. Morgan was still seething this morning at the unexpected charge:
“I couldn’t believe it. The vet phoned me this morning and asked if I owned a black and white collie with in-turned eyes. I said I did and he told me than I owed him £100 then. I was no less shocked when he told me why. He says he stopped his motor and stared at my wee Benny and thought he could do with a good wash. That was it. £100 for that thought. This is just mad, like.”
Vets have always held a high position in Tyrone due to how smart they probably are because the loads of letters after their name. In recent years, the average cost of going to see a vet has risen from £30 in 1999 to £380 in 2013. Morgan though says he is willing to cough up the money as he will probably need the vet’s expertise down the line.
“It’s a bit of an inconvenience alright but he has me by the knackers. My gerbils are always getting flus, consumption and the measles so I can’t fall out with him. There’s a vet in Coalisland but I heard he charged an old woman £4000 for petting the stress out of her worried cat even though the woman hadn’t thought there was anything wrong with the cat. It’s a double edged sword. I just hope and pray he doesn’t think any more about my dog.”
The Dungannon vet was unavailable for comment as he was too busy curing a frowning budgie by playing it ‘Sounds of Whales and Other Mammals’ from a CD he got from Nutt’s Corner.