Plumbridge clergyman Fr Butler, nicknamed ‘The Plum’s Prosperous Priest’, has admitted he can’t go past a shop without buying something shiny or golden but has vowed to say longer masses to make up for his lavish spending.
Parish accountant Jack Spratt reckons Fr Butler, who boasts a fleet of Citroen Dyanes and three Saudi Abrabian crowns, has spent almost £1.2m in the last 15 years, mostly the takings from Sunday collections and tenners given to him at weddings or christenings. Also amongst his possessions is a private plane with a Lithuanian pilot and two chairs made from Indian horses.
Butler admitted he might seek treatment for his monetary addiction:
“It’s a terrible affliction. When I was being handed a fiver or tenner after a funeral all I could think about was going into Omagh and buying something shiny like a chain for around me neck or maybe golden tips for my laces. Then ten pounds would lead to me taking the whole of the weekend’s collections and going out to an auction in Cookstown and buying all manner of second-hand shiny stuff like hefty medallions or golden chalices for the house. I was out of control.”
Concerns were raised about Fr Butler’s spending when a school trip to his house revealed the extent of his shopping habits. Master McGrath, principal of Plumbridge Academy, told us:
“I was dumbstruck. House? More like a 5-star hotel. On entering his abode I noticed all the door knobs were made of solid African gold and hanging from the ceilings were the most extravagant Brazilian chandeliers you’ll ever see. It was like a scene out of Dynasty. What came next was a real eye-opener. Fr Butler was sitting at a golden table, wearing a shiny crown made of sparkling jewels as well as a sparkling cloak and his maid was feeding him Jamaican grapes from a massive glittery silver spoon. All he gave the children was a packet of crisps and a Tip Top mineral with straw.”
The shamed clergyman has vowed to make it up to his flock by saying extra long masses and handing out shorter penances after confessions.
A Drummurrer handyman has returned home after a year working in Dungannon able to ask ‘do you need a stove fitted?’ in half a dozen languages much to the amazement of his family and friends. Terrence McNeill, who got a bus to Dungannon after being told about it by his uncle who went there in 1992, claims to have fitted over 600 stoves in 300 days and rewired almost 200 houses whilst immersing himself in the local culture.
“Jays it’s a deadly place, boys. I met Jamaican women dancing in Woolworths, Lithuanian men playing didgeridoos and Portuguese ladies taking the heads off each other outside the Fort. And they’re all mad looking stoves fitted. I learned Russian, Swahili, Spanish, Latvian, Bulgarian and English just by listening whilst fitting stoves or rewiring.”
McNeill reckons it’s a cultural and financial experience no one should miss out on.
“People talk about recession this and economy that. Well, Dungannon is having none of it. This place must be a bit like Saudi Arabia or Australia. Everyone is loaded. I’ll be telling all the young ones of Drummurrer, Clonoe, Derrytresk and even Coalisland to get on that bus. It might seem like a world away but look at me now. I’m a multi-lingual genius and people keep asking me to say things in different tongues at parties and social gatherings.”
McNeill admits that re-adjusting to life in Drummurrer has been difficult:
“Aye, the slagging takes a bit of getting used to. If you slagged the Russian women they’d wreck you so I cut it out completely in Dungannon. Back here, they’ve been calling me things like ‘Einstein Features’, ‘Bollocksy Bill’ and ‘marble mouthed hoor’ just because I’m deadly at the languages. Also, it’s like learning another language in Drummurrer. Mad way of talking.”
Terence has also had to combat the ferocious reaction by his wife after he brought home a Jamaican woman ‘for a bit of craic’ instead of towels and rock.