A Kildress plumbing supplier this morning announced during Mass that he is thinking of not drinking at all this Tuesday. Fr Buckett, who was pontificating during the Homily at the time, had to chastise the left hand side of the church for laughing out loud at Leo McGirr’s proclamation.
Giggling was still heard during Communion with many in the congregation maintaining McGirr’s head was ‘away with it altogether’ and advised him to get professional help. Publicans and off-licence owners have also moved quickly to play down McGirr’s intentions, claiming he is ‘probably and atheist’ or even worse.
The plumbing merchant, who claims to sell the cheapest compression fittings in Ulster, is adamant he knows what he is talking about:
“People are trying to make it out that I am doting or away with the fairies. I even heard my wife say I must be ‘a devil worshipping hoor’. But surely St Patrick didn’t come to Ireland to get people to drink too much on a particular day of the year. He arrived to straighten out places like Brackaville and Newtownstewart and troublesome reptiles. I’m not touching a drop and will honour our patron saint through religious observation.”
Close friend and reality TV addict John Morgan hopes McGirr will change his mind within the next 48 hours for his own sake:
“Leo is always coming out with statements like this. I remember him saying he wasn’t going to get drunk when his eldest child was born. Or he wasn’t drinking when his youngest made her First Communion. No one takes him seriously now as on both occasions he was flat out on the bar stool for 12 hours like any normal person.”
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church have warned people not to lose the message of St Patrick completely by drinking too much but also reminded followers that although Arthur Guinness may have been a staunch Protestant, they’re all Christians together and that Guinness were great sponsors for the Annual Priests’ Convention in Maynooth.
An initiative by Galbally Civil Council to sober up the locals for a full month has witnessed varying degrees of success. Whilst random lane-brawling has seen a decrease in incidents, the side effects of a much soberer community have been devastating. The self-styled ‘King of Galbally’ Pat Tally (50) offered an insight into life in Galbally over the last month:
“It hasn’t been great, personally. After about three days of sobriety, the wife was sufficiently dried out to take a good look at me. It dawned on her that I looked a bit like that elephant man boy. Whilst intoxicated she must’ve thought I was Galbally’s answer to Robert Redford, and we’ve been married 28 years. She won’t even look at me now without either laughing or retching. It’s cat altogether. I wish she’d take a charge at it so we could get back to marital ignorance.”
Housewife Roisin Murphy (29) revealed other crippling side effects of sobriety in the area:
“Before the hubby sobered up, he was a great handyman. Plumbing, wiring, hammering – he could do it all. Now he cannot even dig a hole. He’s a useless lump. It seems that the stout gave him some sort of super-powers. Others are saying the same. Galbally’s falling down around us as the men are now reading books and writing oul stupid love poems. This sober craic is a disaster around here. The cattle are learning to milk each other, that’s how bad the neglect is”.
Some residents have welcomed the period of sobriety. Johnny Nugent (44) says he’s a changed man:
“Jaysus, I’m a new man. This morning I made toast and tea for the whole family. I never thought I could do that a month ago. I shower nearly every other day and the wife and I have had some deadly kissing sessions. In the past I’d have headed out the door to the site without spakin a word, with three half’uns already in me. Flip, I mightn’t drink again.”
The ‘Sober for July’ experiment ends on Wednesday
A Brackaville plumber, John McCann, has downed his tools and embarked on a 7-day strike until his wife stops spending their money on ‘stupid things’ in the new Newell Stores in Coalisland. The self-employed 59-year old also hit out at customers who say they’ll pay him the next day they see him and then duck for cover for up to a year afterwards. McCann denies he’s having a meltdown and prefers to say he’s taking a stand on a range of matters:
“That bloody woman. I go out and do a job, get a lock of pounds, throw it on the table, jump in the shower and come down only to find she has disappeared. On returning she’d have bought something stupid like screw bulbs or AAA batteries that were on offer in the Newell Stores even though we’re not short of them. I’m sick of it. That new shop will ruin us. All they have to do is slap a £1 sticker on something and it’ll end up on our table. Like, five Turkish Delight yesterday. Who the hell eats that? I’m officially on strike now. We’ll see how she likes that.”
McCann also hit out at the miserly nature of the majority of his customers in the greater Coalisland area:
“That’s another thing. You’d get an emergency call to fix a burst pipe and I’m there in minutes. On finishing the job you’ll see the customer patting the front of his trousers and then the back pockets and you know what’s coming. He’ll say he has nothing on him at the minute but that someone will throw a few pounds down to the house later on. For the next twelve months i’ll see them in the distance walking around the town. As soon as they set eyes on me they’ll throw themselves into the first pub or shop they see. I did nine jobs this week and got paid for one, and even that was a fiver a Coalisland pensioner threw me for installing a new shower. A fiver! I don’t care if every house in Brackaville and the ‘Island is flooded next week as I’m not answering the phone.”
Worried locals are considering a benefit concert for McCann to get him back to work but have warned professional musicians that they’ll be getting paid with ‘those wee sticks for lighting the fire’ and that any money made from the concert will not necessarily go directly to McCann.