Total council debt in Tyrone has spiralled to £19.8m, it has been revealed, with Omagh’s local authority accounting for £10.3m, and Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough’s standing at £5.2m. Magherafelt is the only local authority which is currently debt-free.
Commenting on Omagh’s £10.3m debt with only the flimsiest grasp of the scale of the problem, Councillor Enda McMann said,
“Over £10 million? Jaysus. That’s unbelievable isn’t it? Although to be honest it was a mighty night out”, he said sheepishly. “We were all in Tally’s and the hard stuff was flowing. I didn’t think we spent that much, but I suppose thon flaming sambuca yolks don’t pay for themselves, do they? £10 million. Eff me pink. We shouldn’t have ordered all them sandwiches. That can’t have helped”.
McMann spent all day Wednesday ‘doing his bit for the people’ to re-coup some of Omagh’s portion of the loss, by looking for spare change down the back of all the chairs and seats in the Council building, and investigating whether refunds can still be obtained at newsagents on empty bottles of pop.
In the event that these measures fail to recover the loss, Omagh Council last night called an emergency general meeting and produced a number of hare-brained, half-baked, ill-considered, knee-jerk solutions to be put into place from 1st December, including: –
• Parking charges for all cattle. Standing in any one part of a field – first 20 minutes free, then 50 pence for every hour, or part thereof. Discounts on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
• Auctioning off every Dungannon Swifts player. Reserve price £200 each, or £250 with extended warranty.
• Renting the Garvaghey Complex to Manchester United as a spare training ground.
• Controversial ‘Tayto Tax’. Charge of £100 on any member of the public eating crisps during daylight hours in an open space. £125 for grab bags.
• Privatising Hugo Duncan. Again.
• Sightseeing tours of the new Newell’s store in Coalisland.
In the meantime Omagh Council has ordered an investigation into how the debt could have spiralled out of control. It will be undertaken by an independent analyst, and is likely to cost £300,000.