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.
A Seskinore writer of a new children’s book has been accused of copying a long-standing children’s classic.
Last month author Marty Gallagher of Doogary Road was in discussion with several well-known Tyrone-based publishing houses about a children’s book he had written entitled ‘Darragh the Tank Engine’ about a fictional train and his little train friends, before being accused of copying a similarly named character and story-format from another popular children’s book.
“My characters are completely different from anything else that’s out there”, protested Gallagher. “See, I have this one boyo in it who’s not a train at all but a human who looks after all the railways and trains and suchlike, called the Plump Regulator. I know it’s probably a bit size-ist but it just seems like the right character. I can’t explain it. I’m copying no-one hi. It’s deadly. And if it gets made into a telly programme I don’t want some posh actor from London narrating it. I like the idea of someone with a strong regional accent, like that John Bishop fella. He’s quite good. It’s just something about the Scouse accent. Class”.
Gallagher turned to writing a few years ago after heavily investing in a typewriter manufacturing business in Belfast, which promptly went out of business two weeks later.
“Aye, who could have predicted the changes ahead, eh?” said Gallagher ruefully. “I tried to save the business by diversifying into selling filofaxes, but it was too little too late. That’s why I’ve since turned my hand to writing. I’ve some imagination, even although I don’t know where my half my ideas come from”.
One of the would-be publishers based in Trillick, the publishing heartland of Tyrone, who didn’t want to give her name, declared,
“I know where his bloody ideas come from. He needs to catch himself on. He approached us with a book last year called Barry Cotter, about a boy wizard from Cappagh who got up to all sorts of stuff with his mate, Sean Greasely. Wonder where he got that idea? And then there was his other so-called book, ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Washingbay’. Honestly, you couldn’t make it up. And obviously neither can he”.
As of yesterday evening, Gallagher was hard at work on his typewriter expanding his range of train characters, including a “a friendly wee Welsh engine called Ivor”.
The world-renowned author J K Rowling is close to purchasing the whole of County Tyrone as a Christmas present to Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, as a thank you for playing the part of Hagrid the giant, in the Harry Potter series.
The author, estimated to be worth a staggering £10 billion, decided to splash out once she had made the choice between snapping up the County, the new Peter Andre album, or a signed picture of Malachi Cush.
“I’ve always loved Tyrone”, said the author, “I was going to keep it for myself and use it as a sort of garden feature, but I know Robbie will be thrilled to have it instead. But he lives in London, so I’m going to have my people fly it over so it sits somewhere just outside Surrey. I’m sure Tyrone people won’t mind. It is a little island off the east coast of Scotland, isn’t it?”
The purchase, believed to run into a four-figure sum, came as welcome news to cash-strapped Tyrone council management.
“This is mighty”, said local Councillor Enda McMann. “We’re up to our arses in debt and this is a class way of helping out the County. Jaysus, we were nearly having to auction off the Council’s Philomena memorabilia collection. Imagine that? As it is, we’ve had to sell the Council’s fleet of chauffeur-driven Lamborghinis. Yep, it’s that bad. We might have to sell a couple of the yachts next”.
The news was greeted warmly by many residents. Benny Sloan from Caledon said,
“I’ve always been a big Harry Potter fan. Them fillums where he says, ‘Are you feelin’ lucky punk’ and then shoots up the place is pure class. I love Clint Eastwood. If Robbie gets Tyrone, maybe Clint’ll get Armagh”.
However, not everyone was happy. 57-year old Oonagh Trainor from Eglish said,
“This spells disaster. Literally. What if them Dementor boys turn up, eh? Do you know what they are? I’ll tell yiz. They’re among the foulest creatures to walk this earth, that’s what they are. They feed off human happiness and create depression and despair to anyone near them. How would we tell them apart from some of the ones from Stewartstown?”
The purchase of the County is to remain a secret from Coltrane until Christmas Day, during which time Rowling plans to either wrap it in 1,300 square miles of Christmas paper, or alternatively cover it with a gigantic cloak of invisibility.
A furore has broken out in a local primary school following ‘creative differences’ between a parent and the headmaster.
32-year old Gareth Hughes said his 6-year old son Rory had been promised by the head of St Mary’s Primary School in Eglish that he would be the star of the 20-minute nativity play to be staged tomorrow, only to find out that his son was in fact quite literally playing the role of the Star of Bethlehem, which was followed by the wise men.
“It’s a disgrace”, declared Hughes. “I was expecting my cub to be all over the centre pages of the Dungannon Observer as Joseph, looking all cute in one of thon big black and white picters. It’s hardly going to happen now that all he has to do is stand there with a big torch. We even bought a brand new dishcloth to use as his headdress. Thon school owes me 89p. I’ll bet Daniel Radcliffe didn’t have to put up with this shite when he was doing Harry Potter”.
Hughes insisted that Rory would not participate at all unless he was given a more prominent role in the show.
“We can’t”, said headmaster Padraig Boyle. “All the parts have been cast except for a sheep, a donkey, and the baby Jesus. Rory’s a big bruiser of a thing, and he’s not the sharpest tool in the box. We tried him out as one of the wise men but it was a shocking piece of mis-casting, bless him. And he’s twice the size of Joseph so he can hardly be Jesus, can he? He’d break the buckin’ crib. He’d be better off putting a plank on his head and playing the stable”.
The stand-off was only settled when Boyle agreed to the introduction of the controversial role of ‘Mutant Ninja Wise Man’, who brings with him the gift of bubble mixture.
“At such short notice Rory’s Mutant Ninja Turtle outfit is the only costume he could come up with. At least it’s Michelangelo, so I suppose there’s a biblical connection”, said Boyle doubtfully.
The precedent however opened the floodgates with other parents now demanding a change in roles for their offspring, including one bewildered mother insisting that her son changes from the role of ‘Innkeeper’s dog’, to either the Scarecrow or the Tin Man.
Coalisland will be the envy of the world this year after a secret Christmas committee finally decided to spend the recent windfall on a deadly tree.
The news that £15’000 would be spent on decorating Coalisland this Christmas had set tongues wagging for weeks as to what it will be spent on. In order to tap into the excitement, Coalisland council ran a competition asking residents to put their ideas into a suggestion box outside Sullivan’s on the Main Street. The closing date showed that 400 suggestions had been made with the top five listed below:
- A new mural but with Santa in a balaclava
- Flashing balls all over the place
- A big line of tinsel on the electric wires running from Edendork to Clonoe
- A deadly tree
- Spend the money on bacon soap for everyone
Coalisland independent councillor Pat Campbell was impressed at the wide range of ideas:
“There were some brilliant bits of thinking in Coalisland. Unfortunately we just had to turn down most to appease some groups like the NASA, RSPCA or the UN. One I liked was to decorate all animals like cows and dogs with glittery bells, balls, stars and all that stuff. We decided to pump the whole £15’000 into a deadly tree to be placed inside the Cornmill with a hole cut in the roof for it to stick out. It’ll be about 300 foot tall and we’ll get it from Brazil.”
Our investigations showed that £12’000 will be spent on transport from South America, £2000 on decorations, £500 for John Stokes for the loan of his truck and £500 on cocktail sausages for the opening.
The next big question is who will turn on the lights with local bookies offering mouth-watering options:
- Dennis Taylor 2/1f
- Harry Potter 7/2
- Harry McClure 4/1
- Obama 5/1
- Michael Jackson 6/1
- Malachi Cush 6/1
- One of the Spice Girls 8/1
- Ronan McSherry 33/1
- The Clonoe captain 50/1
- A PSNI official 100/1
- A traffic warden 1000/1
- Joe Brolly 10’000-1