Omagh Christian Brothers’ Grammar School and the town’s Loreto Grammar, who plan to phase out transfer selection entirely by 2020, have quietly admitted to a real fear that children from East Tyrone will try to infiltrate their halls of learning.
And in a move to counter the threat, both schools are currently trialling accent and behavioural tests to weed out any 11-year old within 15 miles of Lough Neagh, a move which does not go against the Catholic church’s stance on the selection process.
An anonymous member of the Board of Governors from one of these prestigious schools admitted they are on red alert:
“We had an Open Night recently and the amount of parents saying ‘ghost oh‘ at the Science experiments was alarming to say the least. And a lot of them were wearing turned-up jeans which were far too short in the leg which is a real sign they’re east of the Ballygawley roundabout people.”
A leaked document shows how prospective pupils will be shown a picture of a woman, asked what they see and if they shout ‘blade‘ they’ll be asked to leave the premises immediately. Pupils will also be asked to recite the whole of Me an’ me Da (Livin’ in Drumlister) by The ‘Bard of Tyrone’, the Rev. W. F. Marshall. Again, any 11-year old who doesn’t rhyme it off within a minute will not receive a place in either school.
This is not the first time a Tyrone school has resorted to extreme entrance measures. In 1986, St Patrick’s Boys’ Academy in Dungannon refused entry to a First Year when he arrived carrying a John Lynch (Castlederg) lunchbox, or ‘lynchbox’ as the young boy called it as he took the bus back to Omagh later that morning.
A deceased 71-year old former funeral director from Strabane has been fined a posthumous £60 and warned about future conduct after the hearse he was resting in was caught doing 44mph in a residential 30mph zone in the town last night.
Jeremiah Pauncefoot, who passed away on Monday after a short illness, was making his way to his final resting place in a top-of-the-range solid panelled oak coffin when the hearse he had previously owned was flagged down by a PSNI officer on the Clady Road.
The young driver, who had just started work experience at the Pauncefoot Funeral Service, used his dead boss’s licence when asked for ID before finishing the journey and jumping on a boat to England.
Defendant for the deceased Fergie Logie admitted he was annoyed at the judge’s decision:
“Pauncefoot may have been a miserable funeral director when he was alive but one thing he definitely wasn’t was a speedster. That young trainee should be forking out the fine, whoever he was. Fortunately Jeremiah had a jar full of money in his office which was always suspected to be bribes he took from independent bereavement counselling companies in exchange for the addresses of the recently deceased. That’ll cover the fine and my fees.”
West Tyrone PSNI spokesman Rory Gilgull has warned undertakers across the county to be on their guard as this is just the start of a clamp-down on funeral directors who think they’re above the law.
“Undertakers are a menace on our roads and we’re prepared to take them on. Their intimidation of other road users has to stop. Last week a petrified pensioner was shouted at in her Micra by an undertaker who bellowed ‘move over old lady or you’re next‘ and winked whilst pointing to the back of the hearse. They’re ruthless and they park all over graveyards.”
Jeremiah Pauncefoot’s business has been bought over by his son, Darkness.
West Tyrone based clothing company TAL is facing accusations of ‘over-equality’ policies following complaints by employees based at its Strabane premises. The firm has raised eyebrows after it posted a position for shop floor line manager, noting that a black Vietnamese protestant gay male worker would be given first preference to fill the role.
In seeking to promote positive discrimination (similar to that used by the PSNI to balance the religious representation on its force when first introduced, by giving Roman Catholic applicants an advantage with regards to filling posts), company director Martin King has tried to apply the same logic with his operations.
“It came to me in a dream while I was on a surf holiday in Bali. What our wee country needs is racial, religious and sexual equality across the board. We hope to set a new standard here. If this place is to move forward with the rest of the world we all need to be equals, just like at the beginning of that book Animal Farm” he said.
What is more apparent than the fact that Mr King did not read all of Animal Farm, is his employees have had enough. Miss Rose Parkes, from East Belfast, recently quit TAL and had some scathing words regarding Mr Kings attempts to promote a new ‘big’ society.
“He is mad in the head mate. First off he came back from his hippy adventure round the world with dreadlocks and all and just announced that all toilets were to be unisex. So, here’s me to myself – I’m not using them toilets no more. I’m gonna wait till I get home, or go to the wee bakery next door. I was never in them toilets since. He’s a sky rocket. I’d rather be waiting on a giro than put up with that muck”
Mr King told us about how Stormont could take a leaf from his book in leading the way with equal opportunity strategy, however he does concede that costs involved in implementing such procedures and policies are high.
“We had our prayer room constructed late last year, and unfortunately after we took on two great Muslim embroiderers we had to have them taken down and re-built to face the Kaaba in Mecca. That was sore on us but it’s all a learning curve for us. I introduced 9 months paternity leave to balance the male to female rights to time off following childbirth. Also, we now do not accept either man flu or period pains as a reason to stay off work. AIDS is fine though as it effects both sexes equally.”
King has had all religious holidays banned and all his workers must work Good Friday and Christmas. The company’s new range of clothing, aptly named ‘peacekeepers’, to be released next July just ahead of the marching season include “Feinhun” versatile wooly hats and poppy-lilly t-shirts; although there is still an ongoing debate as to which flower gets to be positioned on the front of the garment.
The mystery of a dozen election posters of West Tyrone Independent Roisin Fogarty, which mysteriously went missing during the recent campaign, was finally solved yesterday when Gortin bachelor Jim Keenan (44) returned the stolen items to the politician’s office.
Keenan, once voted Gortin’s Most Eligible Bachelor in a two-way tie with 81-year old uncle Paddy Keenan, admitted he used the posters as a source of comfort and was ‘practising for a wife down the line’.
The twelve posters were strategically placed in various rooms and positions including watching TV, ironing, arguing, drinking wine, in the shower and on the treadmill amongst other places. The Gortin mechanic super-glued the posters to mop sticks he bought at a market years ago, sometimes adorning the sticks with dresses and outfits his grandmother left behind. Keenan explained his theft:
“Roisin would be the sort of woman I’d be after. Smart, cross, big arms and red-haired. I thought I’d get a bit of practice in before I go looking for a real woman. Any room I turned she was there, evening hoovering on the stairs. We had some deadly craic telling stories but she’s feisty enough too and gave me some rollicking after rolling home late a few nights from Mossey’s.”
Close friend and fellow single woman-hunter Harry King admitted he considered stealing a few posters as well but could only find a couple of DUP men still up:
“It was a brilliant idea. I’d come around for cup of tea and there’d be Roisin washing away at the dishes or when I went to the toilet she’d be in the shower though she was horribly soggy after a few days there. The only problem was when you’d met the real Roisin on the street and thank her for the soda bread this morning and she’d give you a quare look. That’s the thin line between reality and fiction.”
Gortin Community Group are currently counselling Keenan.
Government officials are said to be on high alert after a shadowy phone-call from a group calling themselves the West Tyrone Independent Disability Living Allowance (IDLA) announced they will resist a tightening on fraudulent payouts by whatever means necessary.
The news that benefits in some cases are to be reassessed came after a Strabane man, who was claiming incapacity benefit for a sore back, was caught moonlighting as a bare-knuckle cage boxer in the lucrative underground fighting ring in Clady. Jon McElhinna defended his position:
“I never said I was incapacitated at night. The cold air seems to work wonders on the muscles. I’m only incapacitated during the day and I’m not giving up my £300 a week. No siree.”
IDLA have also sworn to stand up for any benefit cuts, including the case against Donemana’s Mary McClean who had failed to declare her life-long partner and executive banker, Cyron, as a resident. Hurson defended her position by declaring:
“No he doesn’t live here. Yes, he arrives at 7am for breakfast and yes I make him his lunch-time salad. And yes, he does kiss me at the door as he leaves and yes returns at 6pm for a bit of lunch and tells me about his day before putting the children to bed and yes falling asleep on the TV whilst watching cooking programmes. But he doesn’t live here. Anyway, I’m bisexual.”
The IDLA say they’ll let the tyres down on anyone who looks like someone from Belfast carrying a clipboard walking up driveways.
Meanwhile Barry McElduff has endorsed a Christmas single to be released by the balaclava-ed IDLA called ‘Keep er Lit’, a direct attack on the proposed cuts being made to households who earn over £100’000 per annum and who claim for heating allowance.