Police in Tyrone have admitted they made a serious blunder after issuing a red card for drunken behaviour to Fr Pat Buchanan in Coalisland last week. The new PSNI initiative of handing suspected heavy drinkers a red card to warn them of their condition will continue to be used but all officers are to be retrained in spotting inebriated punters from sober people.
Fr Buchanan, a Pioneer of 66 years, was out to get a pound of mince when he was surrounded by 3 police officers and told to take the red card for being drunk and potentially disorderly:
“I was not amused. The officer said I was clearly drunk as my eyes were all over the place. But sure I’ve had turned-in eyes since birth. They wouldn’t believe me and told me to stop looking like that. I just stared at the ground to get them away from me. Then they claimed I was staggering. Again, I have one leg shorter than the other and sure I’m 88. I haven’t touched a drop since 1940.”
Police spokesman Herbert Drinkwater admitted it was a horrible blunder:
“We feel really bad about harassing a priest with turned-in eyes and a gammy leg. And there was no need for Officer Stephenson to whack him with his truncheon for blessing them. They thought he was messing with them. We apologise profusely and will donate £10 to his parish fundraiser for a new maid”.
Fr Buchanan maintained it nearly drove him to drink but had a corned beef sandwich instead.