Election authorities are said to be trawling through the current election register after a raft of unusual names were ratified as eligible voters in the upcoming Fermanagh/South Tyrone election.
The constituency, which sees a unionist pact between the DUP and UUP in 2015, will be a closely contested affair with Michelle Gildernew hoping to hold onto her seat despite the two large Unionist parties pulling together as one.
Civil servants have however alerted authorities to several unusual names on some of the voting cards. In Fivemiletown, 17 names have been identified as suspicious including ‘Rover Quinn‘, ‘Blackie King’, ‘Rufus Pollock’ and simply ‘Fetch‘, suggesting that pet animals have been used for voting purposes.
Election director Paula McCabe warned:
“It’s not just animals. We’ve had Abraham Lincoln, Wolfe Tone McCann, Elvis Maguire, E.T Graham, Jaws Murphy and five Rod Stewarts. If these people think they can dress up as famous figures from history, music or TV and try to vote then they’ve another thing coming.”
The high security follows on from the last election in 2010 when 64 dubious names were registered including Giant Haystacks, Pat the Budgie, Napoleon, Fr Ted and Cecil the Fighting Cock.
Last time out, Gildernew won by four votes with the four ‘Harry Potter‘ voters from Benburb possibly swinging the balance in her favour.
Coalisland hit the international news circuit this week when the cast and crew of Fr Ted found themselves caught up in a series of protests and counter protests in the town. The shenanigans revolves around the appearance of a well known psychic at the local theatre, Madame Rizzle, who has almost sold out a whistle-stop 4-day tour of the area.
Local worrier, Seamus McBonzo from Brackaville, explained the concern from one section of the community:
“It’s a load of balls, like. These people make stuff up and rip off the vulnerable who want to time travel after watching Dr Who or something. Sure I contacted the Madame herself and asked her to tell me who’d win the play-off between Newtownstewart and Derrytresk this weekend. She said Derrytresk would win by five goals to three. Con artist. I’m happy to announce that Fr Dougal Maguire from Fr Ted as well as some other real priests will be protesting on the night. Down with this sort of thing.”
Fans of the psychic world have also planned a counter protest at the same time outside the local church. Self-proclaimed medium Henry McCann from Annagher says he’ll be there with his placards too:
“Preying on the vulnerable? Explain to me the difference between our Madame and Fr Nolan telling the poor of the town to throw their last pennies into a basket, and then him buying a baste of a house, three Lithuanian maids, a Merc and a couple of holidays to Tenerife. Some con artists in that organisation. Sure I went to confessions last year and made the whole stuff up. He hadn’t a clue. Down with this sort of thing.”
McCann claims that he has secured the services of Fr Jack from the Channel 4 show to protest using the authentic banners from Fr Ted.
The Vatican confirmed they will be monitoring the situation closely using PSNI CCTV and will use reinforcements from Maynooth if there’s a ‘slappin session’ between the protests. Madame Rizzle predicts a peaceful evening.