News comes this week of yet another criminal scam that is conning people into giving out personal details such as bank account numbers.

As far as I know, the tricksters haven’t yet tried their luck in this area but further afield people have been caught out by the crooks who have cleverly used the MABS organisation to gain their victims’ trust. MABS is the Money Advice and Budgeting Service that helps people get their financial affairs in order and the crooks have sent out thousands of letters to homes purporting to come from MABS.

The letters bear the official MABS logo and inform people that they are to be given a special grant of €5,000 under the government’s Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Programme that is being administered by MABS. Some letters contain cheques for various amounts and request that the recipients supply bank details so the remainder of the money can be processed through to them.

Both Gardai and the MABS organisation have warned people that the letters are a scam that people should ignore them and, under no account, should they give out any private information. 


Has Slaney killer snake any cousins in the Suir?


Big excitement down the road in County Wexford last week when the news broke that a ten-foot killer snake had been trapped in a net in the river Slaney just upstream from Endermine Bridge.

The giant python was dead when taken from the water by Fisheries Board staff but it has been determined that the animal hadn’t been dead for very long. The men said they could hardly believe their eyes when they discovered the snake.

Various theories as to where the python came from are being examined, the most plausible being that it was an exotic pet that was either released or escaped into the wild. Though highly unlikely, it has also been suggested that the huge reptile could have arrived in Irish waters from the tropics and swam up the Slaney until it perished.

Central Fisheries Board Director of Research, Dr. Cathal Gallagher, said a dead python posed no threat to human beings or to fish stocks but other exotic species were getting a foothold here at the expense of native species and he named the Zebra Mussel and Langerosiphon Weed as two good examples.

All the same, anybody coming from a late-night disco in Waterford city centre would want to be careful if they venture down by the Waterside. The python might have had companions who decided to explore the delights of the River Suir, as opposed to the Slaney, and what better place to set up home than the St John’s tributary flowing through the city! 


Last journey by  motorbike hearse


I came across a motorbike enthusiast last week who has come up with a business idea that some may consider controversial.

Coach-builder, Peadar Byrne, has built Ireland’s first motorbike hearse. The bike part of the hearse is a powerful Yammaha VMax machine which is water-cooled so it can stay ticking over and crawl along at slow speeds for long periods and the carrier part is a customised side-car that has ample room for a full-sized coffin and floral wreaths.

Peadar said he believed there would be a constant demand for his services as there were many thousands of motor-bike enthusiasts who would relish the idea of being taken on their last journey to the church in their favourite mode of transport. He had designed a classic style vehicle with Celtic engravings on the bike and hearse.

He said there might be some criticism, perhaps, if the deceased had been the victim of a motorcycle accident but he believed that, even then, most genuine bike lovers and their families would be in favour of a motorbike hearse. Maybe, maybe not.


Drink driving blood level too low? 

A County Tipperary Councy Councillor has suggested that priests will have to give up their cars and travel by bicycle if new legislation governing drink-driving laws is enacted.

Councillor Denis Leahy, a publican by profession, maintains that, if the alcohol limit is reduced to 50 milligrammes from 80 milligrammes, it will destroy rural Ireland which is already experiencing social problems due, not least, to isolation.

For instance, points out Councillor Leahy, if a priest or curate celebrated two Masses on a Sunday morning the amount of wine consumed could take him over the limit. The amount of alcohol necessary to put people over the limit at 50 milligrammes would be very small, he said, so much so that people would have to be even careful about the food they consumed. Brandy butter, sherry trifle and porter cake were just some examples of items people would need to avoid.

Councillor Leahy said he was not speaking out because he was a publican and he certainly did not condone drinking and driving but he honestly felt that 50 milligrammes was too low and its introduction would be a massive blow to rural Ireland. He may well have a valid point.

Keeping the home fires burning 

Congratulations to inventor Dermot Ryan who seems set to earn his fortune from a simple idea he got when he attended a family function in a hotel where there was a video playing in a mock fireplace of a log fire. Dermot said to himself, why not make a film of an Irish turf fire so off he went and got a load of hand-cut turf that he videoed burning in a traditional fireplace.

The film lasts for just over an hour and shows the fire blazing brightly to dying away with glowing embers. At first he achieved sales by the 10s and 20s but he got his big break when his invention was featured in a US catalogue that is sent to five million Irish/American homes across the United States. On foot of that, he secured a spot on the shopping channel QVC and, ever since, the orders have been flowing in. If you want to see what it looks like, watch it on YouTube at  


Enter the era of Tyson Fury


Members of the Travelling Community around Ireland were glued to the television sets last week to watch Tyson Fury (what a great name for a boxer) win the English heavyweight Boxing Title. He now intends to mount a challenge for the vacant Irish title.

The new champion’s mother comes from Tipperary and his father from Galway. His father, Gypsy John Furey, was a boxing enthusiast who named his son after his own hero, Mike Tyson. Incidentally, if you are sharp eyed about the spelling of names, we haven’t made a typographical error here because Tyson (probably under advice from his manager) has dropped the final ‘e’ from his father’s surname of Furey.  


A predictable performance?


Tommy was enjoying a rest in bed last Saturday morning about 9.30 and he could hear his wife moving about in the kitchen. “Great”, he said to himself, “there’ll be a cup of tea on the way soon.” Then he heard the sound of a crash and his wife saying ‘Damn’ in a loud voice. Seconds later his wife shouted from the kitchen. “Tommy darling, can you come down here immediately please.”

Tommy did as he was asked and arrived in the kitchen to see his wife slipping out of her tracksuit bottoms. “Listen”, she said, looking up, “I want you to make love to me immediately, right now, here in the kitchen.”

“Aha”, said Tommy, puffing out his chest, “you still find me irresistible even after all these years.” “It’s not that”, replied his wife impatiently, “I’ve dropped and broken the bloody egg timer so I want to know the exact length of time to leave them on the cooker.”