A recent report into the On The Runs (OTRs) in Ireland has confirmed that of the 177’000 inhabitants in Tyrone, almost 100’000 are on the run from something or somewhere. This startling revelation has thrown the Civil Service into chaos as they attempt to examine each case individually, originally thinking they were dealing with only 200 cases.
Chief civil servant Valerie McMahon listed a few of the reasons for the rather large tally of OTRs in the county:
“This is a bit of a nightmare. We asked around Galbally and Moortown for information on who was on the run and nearly every household had a couple of OTRs. In one lane in Galbally, there were 16 on the run from the TV licence man, 12 on the run from their wives, one on the run from buying a round and another dozen on the run from their drunken antics at recent weddings. And that was just the men. We met a woman from Cappagh on the run from her sister after leaving on a pair of straighteners and burning a hole in her Frankie Goes To Hollywood sweatshirt. Categorising these is going to be a logistical hell.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is said to be livid at the suggestion that those on the run from stealing Choc Pops from a local garage in Pomeroy is to be given the same category of offence for those on the run from sticking up Union Jacks in Carrickmore. An insider told us he pleaded for the downgrading of ice lolly thieves:
“Marty went clean mad at Peter Robinson when it was revealed that an on the run Choc Pop burglar would receive a category 4 OTR status, the same as the two fellows from Newmills who put up three Union Jacks outside the toilets in Carrickmore. He says that the deadly summer we had last year left men and women fierce hot and that the ice lolly makers were cashing in on climate change, especially in Pomeroy with it being so high up and all. He didn’t go as far as condone the theft of Choc Pops but intimated that a blind eye should be turned, especially if the OTR is over 70.”
Meanwhile, a traffic warden who nearly gave a ticket to a vehicle in Coalisland last week and went on the run after being spotted licking his pencil by locals, has been told his OTR status will be quashed if he returns to his home in Banbridge.
The once-famous Brackaville ghost, who drew millions of people to the area in 2009 after making a few appearances, has announced that unless people start showing her a bit of respect she will pack up and head to Stewartstown who would be crying out for a bit of supernatural shenanigans. ‘Lily’, who says she’s about 200 years young or thereabouts, claims bad manners and general begrudgery has made her life a living hell:
“Ignorant shower of ungrateful living people around here. Yes, they were all over me when the crowds were flocking to the Mullaghmoyle Road after I made a couple of midnight danders outside the house. They couldn’t get enough of me. It was Lily this and Lily that. Newspaper people from England and all. Then I started to hear the grumblings from jealous women up the road who simply didn’t like the thought of their husbands and boyfriends talking about me all the time. Then the men turned on me too in order to placate the women. I’m off. People just drive through me now.”
Lily claims she was also being used as a scapegoat for every misdemeanour in the area from tax evasion to smuggling diesel:
“Yes, that’s correct. Men were being done for non-payment of TV licences, insurance or diesel and in court they’d plead innocence by saying ‘it was the ghost that done it’, claiming I was stealing documents and letters or leaving illegal fuel lying about. The powers-that-be would buy into it for fear of being haunted if they didn’t believe in me. As if I wanted to be at that craic at my age. All I want is a pint in Campbells and a round of golf up the road. I’m 200 for God’s sake.”
Lily claims she may move to Stewartstown before the year is out:
“That is maybe the fresh challenge I need. Sure foreigners don’t even go there. I’d shake that town up.”
The old railway line between Cookstown and Dungannon, visiting Stewartstown and Coalisland, may be getting touched up under ambitious plans by the council to create a ‘deadly long ghost train ride’ for bored children and stressed parents. The railway line, last used in the late 50s, has been declared ‘probably near enough intact’ and only requires a bit of hammering here and there as well as hedge cutting and a couple of buildings knocked down.
Madcap optimist Concubar Corr is certain he can pull this off:
“I’m never done hearing about unruly children terrorising East Tyrone by gathering in corners and sniggering whilst parents are out of their wits worried about their social development. Then one day I was hoking around a ditch in Tullyhogue and spotted the disused railway line. The idea hit me straight away – I can use this to solve all our delinquency problems. I can build a ghost train stretching 10 miles and taking 2 hours to complete. 4 hours if you go back the same way.”
Corr has set out the fearsome sights the train passengers will encounter on the journey. They include:
- Boys in Stewartstown jumping out from behind hedges shouting ‘yahoooooo’ and other frightful sounds.
- At Lisnastraine have TV licence men stand about staring at parents on the train or dole officers pretending to take notes.
- In Coalisland there’ll be women striking sliotars at the passengers
- The whole way have planted workers secretly making “wooooooooo” noises every 2-3 minutes
“I understand we need to ask a few householders to knock down internal walls so that the train can follow its original route but we’ll look for compensation for them like 3 free rides or something. Sure won’t it be great craic seeing a train pass through your living room whilst watching The One Show. I already have 41 bookings even though we haven’t checked if the line is still there. I’ve only checked from Cookstown to Sandholes, about 1 mile.”
Rides will cost £20 per child or £100 for a family ticket.
We took a scoot out to the market in Cookstown to collate the hopes and wishes for 2013.
“Wouldn’t it be great if ourselves and Augher finally put our differences behind us and mixed next year. At the church the Clogher ones still sit on one side and the Augher folk on the other. There’s no intermarrying. We drink stout; they stick to triple X. The brawls on the streets are now a daily occurrence. Let’s pray for peace and try to endure those fcukers for 12 months.” GERDY MCNABB, CLOGHER
“A good looking priest. We’ve been starved out here in Donemana of young virile clergy. In fact, the last PP was so old he still read in Latin. Someone like the boy out of The Thornbirds would be deadly. Get me up in the morning, hangover or none.” MARY MAGUIRE, DONEMANA
“Bring back hanging for cattle rustling and trespassing.” DAMIEN COYLE, PLUMBRIDGE
“The government to turn a blind eye to women who bate the shite clean out of their husbands. That lazy hoor of a man I have needs a quare hiding to get his arse into gear on a Saturday. Say, once a week would be great.” NOLEEN MURPHY, EDENDORK
“Women wearing less in and around the streets. There are women now with jumpers and coats on even in the summer. If the powers taxed the amount of clothing you wore, they’d be more inclined to wear loose blouses and skirts. I’m 88 but I’d make more of an effort to get out to the shops if the women would shed a few layers. Not the fat ones though.” CATHAL JACKSON, DONAGHMORE
“Mickey Harte to pick players from the south east of the county. What did we ever do on him eh? There’s talk that he ruined his motor driving at 60 down the Annaghmore Road during the 80s. Well, that’s what we deal with day in, day out. We all drive 1990s motors from Lithuania now. Don’t hold it agin us Mickey.” FRANCIE O’NEILL, DERRYTRESK
“The price of diesel to come down a bit in Castlecaulfield. Might as well hope to grow wings. Miserable bastards.” SUSIE FOSTER, CASTLECAULFIELD.
“A traffic warden in Coalisland. In fact, anyone official at all. Even a TV licence man. Just for the craic.” JUSTIN LAVERY, COALISLAND
“A gay bar in Kildress.” ANONYMOUS, KILDRESS
A Brocagh badger-catcher has stunned the loughshore diaspora when he admitted after a few pints in the Emmets clubrooms that he has a TV licence at home sitting on the mantlepiece. The astonishing admission came after a truth or dare session between a few men and women after a local bowling club dinner dance. In surreal scenes later that night, over a dozen drunken locals arrived at Pat Bucker’s abode looking to see proof of the remarkable claim.
Barman at the Emmets told our reporter:
“There was just a bit of craic going on, you know, the same oul shit-talk. Women were standing up saying mad things like they used to wink at the priest in the front row at Mass to see if he’d drop the chalice or the like. It was harmless stuff. The bowling captain has just admitted that he cleaned his arse one time with the Irish News and still read it after, when Bucker got up and shouted ‘I have a TV licence’. There was a stunned silence. Pint glasses crashed to the ground. One elderly woman fainted into the PP’s arms. I almost soiled myself. We’d never heard the like around Brocagh.”
There was disbelief as people waited to be told by Bucker that it was a wind-up. When it became clear that the badger-killer was serious, things threatened to turn ugly.
“Men were needing to be held back. Chairs were crashing through the window. I thought fatalities were a cert at one stage. A biggish dog was kicked straight at Bucker. Men and women were very angry that Bucker had gone against a century-long tradition in the area and that he was showing the lot up with his lawful compliance.”
Temperatures soon cooled afterwards when they visited the Bucker household for proof. Mrs Bucker answered the door and when told of the commotion she ordered her husband to “get the feck up thon stairs” and that the licence on the mantlepiece was actually the instructions for assembling the TV bracket on the wall that “the lazy good-for nothing drunken clift hadn’t even attempted since we got it a year ago“.