The final family yet to receive a grant have announced that a £3000 cheque arrived this morning for the upkeep of a badger sanctuary in their garden. This news means that every family in Tyrone have now received a grant for something in the last ten years, ranging from ‘keeping an eye on Lough Neagh for invaders’ to ‘looking after the Strabane Christmas Tree’.
Economic sceptic Professor Harry Brown maintains this handing out of money for anything has to stop.
“I thought I’d seen it all until I met Paddy Grant from Brocagh last week. He told me he’d received a grant for being a Grant. Then there was Mary Shackleton up near Glenelly who pocketed £5000 for speaking three words in Irish every day – ‘tá mé anseo’ (I am here). She’s originally from Plymouth in England and lives alone apart from a wild cat that visits. That’s just madness.”
Professor Brown appears to be in the minority though as several awardees came forward this morning to defend their funding. Noel McGrinn from Dromore explained:
“The professor should learn to wind his neck in and maybe research a wee bit as to why these grants are handed out. For example, I get £1500 a year for making sure I preserve a small patch of grass around my back that a local holy woman claims St Patrick urinated on during his travels across Tyrone. There were no toilets in those days so her ‘vision’ might actually be true. I think that’s money well spent by the Department of Granting and we’re preserving a small bit of Ulster culture.”
The highest award this year was for Drummurrer handy man Terence McNeill who received £30’000 for pacifying local roosters and hens by singing soothing lullabys like Humpty Dumpty and Three Blind Mice.