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.
For the first time in the history of the town, or from records started in 1944, Coalisland has more dogs than people, sparking fears of a canine takeover at any moment. The current population in the town is 4701, with the dog count approaching 5000 excluding dogs that spend more of their time touring up around Brackaville which itself has a serious dog problem on the horizon. Locals in “The ‘Island” have long been complaining at the sheer volume of stray collies and labradors running amok through the pubs and barbers as well as sitting up in seats in the cafes and take-away sit-ins eating sausages or chips. Local councillor Marnie Lyons is not at all shocked at today’s figures:
“Not surprised in the slightest. It seems that as soon as you hit 65 you get a dog. Those bitches have pups and the oul people just let the offspring run around the roads fending for themselves. Two years ago I was unable to drive down the Lineside as a gang of golden retrievers had blocked the road passing bones and ridin each other. It was a fearsome sight. I reversed before they surrounded the car. I fear for the future. The book Animal Farm we read at St Joes warned that this might happen. The police are doing nothing about it too. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them dogs were working for the PSNI, spying and stuff.”
Brackaville residents are monitoring the situation closely as well as finding ways to cope with their own dog-related problems. Golfer Malachy Herron told us:
“Our hearts go out to the human race in The Island who are now in the minority. We in Brackaville still hold the upper hand by chasing them out to Newmills or Donaghmore but we have our own worries. Whereas the Coalisland dogs appear to be mostly toilet trained, our mutts are soiling all over the place. I was at Mass on Sunday and noticed how everyone was wearing wellingtons in order to wade through the droppings. Some wemen had nose pegs. We’re swimming in the stuff here. It’s man v dog from now on I say.”
The traditional Sinn Fein constituency are preparing themselves for a battle to retain control of the town after it emerged that 1003 people voted for a mysterious Rufus Hound in the last election.