By Patrick Markey
Dublin practical joker Eugene McManus got a taste of his own medicine recently when friends turned his beautiful Baldoyle home into a building site.
McManus, didn’t know what he was letting himself for when he trusted a friend, builder Jim Clarke, with the small task of erecting a garden wall at the front of his house, reports the Northside People.
The job would normally be completed in a few hours, but Clarke had other ideas.
"I told Eugene that under new building regulations I had to get a safety officer in to have a look at the job before I started," Clarke recalled. "He was a bit suspicious at first, but he took the bait, so I asked a few of my workers to set up a site in his front garden."
The workcrew arrived at the house and as McManus’ wife watched in disbelief, began to set up a site office complete with portable toilets and temporary canteen facilities. Fire extinguishers and warning signs were plastered all over the outside of the house and the family were given hard hats with strict instructions to wear them at all times outside the house.
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According to the paper, protests were met with a reference to the regulations. Stunned neighbors stared as the site got bigger and the scenario attracted attention from local gardaí. Luckily the McManus family saw the funny side of things, but Eugene has promised to even the score.
"I couldn’t believe it when I got home from work and saw all these people standing around," he said.
"I thought I had been mistakenly marched on by anti-drugs activists or something. I know I can be a bit of a messer at times, but I’ve never done anything like this. Jim and the
lads had better keep looking over their shoulder because I’m out for revenge."
Dublin’s super dad
Finglas man Tony Smullen is no ordinary dad, and his children will tell you why.
His wife has been in hospital for the last eight months and Smullen, a barman for 20 years, currently looks after his five children full time, the Northside People newspaper has reported.
Smullen’s daughter Alice recently nominated him on behalf of the rest of the family for the Weetabix sponsored "Dad of the Year" competition. And he beat 3,500 other dads to the overall national award.
"I’ve become an expert on everything from the Spice Girls to cooking spaghetti bolognese," Smullen joked.
As winner, he collected an exotic holiday worth £1,500 and £500 spending money.
Higgins: grave condition
Irish snooker legend Alex Higgins may have been one of the greatest warriors on the green baize, but the 49-year-old former world champion is facing the toughest fight of his life in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Higgins underwent major surgery for throat cancer recently. Although his cancer was common knowledge, earlier this year after an exhibition match in Larne with his
great pal Jimmy White, Higgins announced, "I am dying."
Higgins won two world titles 1972 and 1982. A former apprentice jockey, Higgins stormed the snooker world with his genius. He fought often with snooker officialdom, and recently has only been a shadow of the man he was. He is arguably, one of the greatest players to grace the game, the paper said.
Belfast survey blasted
West Belfast residents have hit out at a shock questionnaire they received through the post recently asking them if they support the IRA.
Angry local people contacted the Andersonstown News after receiving the political and religious survey through the mail, that newspaper reported. Critics objected to the sensitive questions relating to their religious beliefs and support for the Republican Movement.
The in-depth survey was accompanied by a letter identifying the sender as Gerry McElroy, a senior lecturer in politics at Luton University, who says he’s interested in the relationship between Irish nationalism and Catholicism.
"If you want to express your views on some of these crucial issues with a guarantee of
total confidentiality, this survey will offer you a rare opportunity to do so," the letter read.
Local community worker, Danny Murphy was one of the recipients of the survey and expressed the community’s shock at the questions: "The first ten questions are pretty general and straightforward, but then they start to get very personal indeed. From question 17 on, the questions are highly sensitive and are definitely not the sort of queries you’d be inclined to post to a stranger in England."
Murphy said one question asks if violence aimed at achieving British withdrawal would be justified in a breakdown of the cease-fire and another asks whether the Provisional IRA’s campaign over the past 25 years has been justified.
"It then asks how often you go to Mass and how often you take part in the sacraments. It is quite obvious what this survey is trying to establish, but what isn’t quite so clear is where the information is going to," he said.
The letter assures confidentiality. McElroy was unavailable for comment.