Scientists at the University of Ulster have confirmed that a lesser-talked about side effect from the last couple of years has been the rise in local men and women starting to fancy their cousins again, especially those on the Derry side of Ballinderry and Lissan.
Due to part-isolation and not straying too far from their localities, the century old problem of cousins tackling each other in hedges and bell towers has risen its head to levels not seen since the 1950s in the Mid-Ulster area.
Schools have already been asked to educate pupils on the dangers of cousin-fancying and point to some unusual looking families on the Tyrone/Derry border as evidence, although most of that was put down to just marrying Derry ones.
Ulster GAA have already confirmed that should Tyrone defeat in the preliminary round of the Ulster Championship and go on to meet Derry, there will be piles of segregation going on between the two sets of supporters to prevent further fancying, with a dozen priests signed up to roam the stand in order to cut out the scourge of related courting.
Clonoe Parish officials are presently debating the motion to allow full cousins to marry in order to supplement the priests’ income which has dwindled in recent years. The radical step, harking back to the last days of inter-cousin marriages during the mid-80s, will have to be ratified in the Vatican before implemented at the end of the month. One of the priests, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us of his plight:
“Ah, we’re finding it tough to be honest. I’ve recently moved in to a new house that was built for me and it’s a really hard to heat what with the amount of rooms and all. My maid is always complaining about her frocks being a bit out of season so the extra dough would not go to waste. Marriages in Clonoe have been a scarce ever since the ban on the cousins a few years ago. And those who do tie the knot have been a bit stingy due to the recession. I married a couple from Derrylaughan last weekend and they gave me £20 just. I had to throw the altar boys a few Maltesers so I could keep the money. It’s tara altogether.”
Parishoners have warmly welcomed the news and predicted a much more harmonious atmosphere in the area if the motion is passed. Tommy O’Neill, a 51-year old carpenter from Dernagh, agreed with the idea:
“This would be deadly news. An awful lot of us would be related here anyway and there have been some real awkward moments since the ban came in years ago. I remember chatting this girl up down at Tessie’s and we were getting on brilliant. I was about to take her up to the Washingbay when we worked out that our fathers were brothers. That’s just one example. If the motion is passed, I can see marriages multiplying tenfold in the parish. My aunt’s 80th birthday party next month might be great craic if this goes ahead. There’ll be some courtin amongst the more desperate cousins.”
The unnamed priest says that whilst full-cousin weddings will be welcomed, it will come at a cost. Fees will range from £100-£2000 depending on how much they look like each other.