Following an investigation into long-forgotten by-laws in Tyrone, researchers have announced that Ian Paisley Jnr, MP for North Antrim, is the rightful heir to the Freedom of Coalisland, a title last awarded in 1791 to President George Washington.
In addition, the ancient ruling states that a local farmer with a surname beginning with ‘O’ or ‘Mc’ must supply a donkey for Paisley to ride through the town at his own leisure on Sundays.
And in a final twist, researchers have discovered that anyone who displays any signs of disgruntlement at the award is to be tied to a lamp post in the middle of the town and stoned for three hours.
Local shopkeeper and former footballer Jackie O’Neill told us through gritted teeth:
“This is absolutely splendid news. I can think of no better sight than Paisley on a donkey sailing down the Main Street on a Sunday, maybe popping in for a Choc Pop or a packet of Hula Hoops. You’ll find no argument from me anyway. I’m fine with it,”
before smashing the cup he was drinking tea out of by squeezing it too hard.
Local farmer, Leo McCann, came forward this morning with an offer of a donkey from his extensive range of animals. McCann, who was released under the Good Friday Agreement, maintains he’d be honoured to see Paisley striding around on his ass:
“I just hope he’s OK with the fact that he’ll be on a republican ass. It’s called Rebel and has been dormant for a few years now but as I said to the wife this morning, he hasn’t gone away y’know. He’ll take the big man’s frame no bother.”
Paisley has yet to comment on the award but sources close to the DUP man claim he was delighted at the news and hopes to canter down the Lineside this weekend and pop into Landi’s for their famed sausage supper and a can of Lilt. Unfortunately, he was disappointed to hear the cinema had closed down.
In a move which has been described as ‘draconian’ and ‘pure mad’, Stormont officials have moved to ban anyone from photo-bombing in county Tyrone.
Photo-bombing, the modern phenomenon of unexpectedly dropping in behind someone being photographed, has been on the rise in the county ever since mobile phones replaced Polaroid instant cameras in 2008 as the most popular camera device in homes.
A government insider informed us today:
“Photo-bombing is a throwback to the bad old days. Our many communities don’t need this and that’s why from today anyone caught photo-bombing will be gathered up in unmarked jeeps and interned indefinitely. We want these people off the streets and Tyrone is a good place to start off as there seems to be a rash of photo-bombers all over that land. Ireland says NO to photo-bombers. We might need to re-word the Good Friday Agreement just.”
Initial reports gathered from Twitter and Facebook suggests there have already been three photo-bombers arrested – in Ardboe, Galbally and Loughmacrory, sparking outrage and spontaneous bonfires in all three regions. Galbally tourism director Jill Maguire is adamant there will be resistance to the government’s latest initiative. Using a voice-warp microphone she told us:
“Them boys sitting up in Belfast are out of order. I can’t believe Martin McGuinness has sanctioned this move, and him a serial photo-bomber at football matches and christenings. We’re sending this message out loud and clear – we will not be moved. We’ll be photo-bombing like mad tonight all over the county.”
Although rumours of a continuity photo-bombing group forming in Brocagh are wide of the mark, there has been a rash of digital cameras and balaclavas bought in Dungannon, Cookstown and Omagh today in an obvious show of defiance. PSNI have drafted in 40 UN troops to help monitor the situation. A county holds its breath.