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SUNDAY 19  MAY 2024

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Wind was passed in County Wicklow — and a few other stinkers from the Irish Sun

By MALCOLM TATTERSALL


TOWARDS the end of my journalistic career, I spent a while working on the Irish edition ­of The Sun – first in London alongside legendary hacks like Danny Gallagher, Graham O’Booth, Steve O’Henry, Trevor O’Davies, Graham O’Oates, Nik O’Flynn and Mike O’Tubbs and then in Dublin with Guinness-swigging giants like Mike McNiffe, Craig Mackenzie, Kenny Parker, Ronan O’Reilly, Myles McEntee and Andy Waller.


Now there were some great staff journalists operating in Ireland, but alas some of the freelance correspondents working out in the sticks didn’t, try as they might, always quite get the hang of how to write for a red-top tabloid newspaper like The Sun.


Take the reporter who sent us the frightening story of a man being savagely assaulted in a Dublin pub. Apparently, three blokes forced open the toilet door before hitting him over the head “with a bottle and a number of stools”.


And there was a blushing bride who was quoted as saying: “We got married in Dingle … it was such a small gathering that the priest had everyone on the altar.”


The same freelance sent us another account about a farmer’s son called Ned Ryan lamenting the death of his “fun-loving friend Princess Margaret”.


Ned, the reporter went on, “denied that the Princess ever referred to the Irish as pigs. He said: ‘She may have thought it, but she certainly never said it’.”


Then there was the pretty, but rather naïve, correspondent who told us: “Miss Irish Sun, Lorraine Flood, tested the stuffing of nine tasty bachelors yesterday.”


Another story from the same lass recounted how: “Wind was passed in County Wicklow yesterday when Marine Minister Frank Fahey signed the lease for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm.”


And a third said, rather indelicately: “Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, famous for the big birthmark on his head, had lunch with Irish President Mary McAleese yesterday.”


We had a lovely bloke covering the Cork area for us. Nothing happened in the area without him hearing of it.


But this was one of his intros we didn’t use: “Foot and mouth is killing romance – at least among Ireland’s cattle population with bulls being banned from servicing cows.”


Also in Cork was “a mystery farmer” who had scooped a whopping €6.2million on the Lottery and, ready to live it up, excitedly announced he planned “to splash out on a new trailer”.


Now it might be a long way to Tipperary, but it could have been worth the trek for this shindig … “Two brothers who were hanged 143 years ago are to be commemorated with a knees-up in a pub.”


Over in Clones, Co Monaghan, meanwhile, cops were “seeking the public’s help after the dessiccation of one of the country’s oldest graveyards”.


There were some rum things going on in Kilkenny too, where “a woman alleges that a man she met earlier through friends buggered her in a rural area”.


Then there was the jailing in Belfast of a man who had been “too fat and unfit to rape and bugger his niece”. 


Sometimes we were given a little too much detail. Like the Dublin man who was “found not guilty of raping a woman through the use of a twig”.


Or the father who “sexually abused his two daughters in a fridge-freezer”.


But there were some good-news stories too. Take the “young woman from Finland” who had just been seriously injured in a motorbike crash.


The reporter told us she had finally “come out of a coma” and was now “on the road to recovery”.


Covering Ladies Day at the Dublin Horse Show obviously went to one correspondent’s head.


She wrote: “Perhaps the most exotic hat was the one shown off by model Camille O’Sullicvan, who had horses on the brain – literally.”


Meanwhile in the city’s court, a professional violinist was suing the local bus company for €30,000 after injuring his fingers when his hand got trapped in a hydraulic door.


The reporter explained: “He said his fingers gave so much pleasure to himself and others …”


But perhaps the most bizarre, yet typically Irish, story involved a motorist called Hanley who had been arrested on suspicion of being over the drink-driving limit.


The correspondent wrote: “When brought to the station, he was asked by Garda John Flaherty to provide a blood or urine sample and told he could be fined up to €1,000 and banned for refusing to do so.


“He replied: ‘I don’t give a f*** what you want. F*** all of you. F*** the €1,000 fine. And f*** you, you prick’.


“Dr Fakih then asked him for a sample and was unwrapping a sealed jug for this purpose when Hanley turned his back.


“He turned round again with his trousers unzipped saying ‘You want piss, I’ll give you piss, you black b*stard.’ He then urinated on the table, on the doctor’s papers, into his equipment bag, on the doctor’s clothes and towards a Garda.


“Dr Fakih said, ‘The floor and equipment were totally destroyed. I had to go and have a shower.’


“Hanley’s counsel told the court, ‘He opted to give urine – albeit in an indelicate way’.”