The newly formed Tyrone Tourism Board have come under serious fire after it emerged they hoodwinked the entire country into visiting two memorials for Omagh medical guru, and inventor of the hypodermic syringe, Peader Hughes who they seem to claim was beheaded twice.
Hughes, who was beheaded by the Queen of England in 1710, is said to have stumbled across the syringe idea after messing about with voodoo amongst the picturesque ramparts near his home in what is now Omagh town centre. The 27 year old was beheaded and impaled on a spike in Omagh for inventing the syringe three years before the English were due to invent it.
Last year, the Tyrone Tourism Board (TTB) put his preserved head on display inside Omagh Library near the history section and subsequently put another of his heads on display, supposedly when he was 14, outside Strabane Town Hall in April of this year.
Local historian Danny O’Donnell was first to question the displays:
“I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’d visited both sites numerous times over the last two months and it just wasn’t sitting comfortably for me. Then it dawned on my wife, how the hell could you have beheaded a person twice, once at 14 and again at 27? It’s a money making racket and at £12.99 a visit, they made their money alright. The queues for the 14-year-old head was about half a mile long.”
TTB chairman Kieran Nelis admits they didn’t purposely attempt to deceive the public and vowed to removed the fake head as soon as they can get a van to take it away:
“I want to assure the public that this was not an attempt to make money from people. Someone approached us months ago and said he had the head of Peader Hughes when he was 14, who was beheaded Red Hugh O’Donnell from Dunfanghy for stealing cattle from his land. It was a perfect likening for the head of Peader when he was 27 so you can understand our error. We now realise it was an impossible scenario and will refund any punters who visited the younger head if they can provide a receipt.”
PSNI investigations into the younger head are pointing in the direction of a fancy dress shop in Belfast who make false heads for Halloween.