50 Mass-goers were arrested in Oola Village in County Tipperary last Sunday on charges of being in breach of the emergency laws restricting large gatherings, put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
They were also charged with various public order offences and are to appear at a special sitting of Tipperary District Court this morning to establish their fate within the legal system.
Information received from local person
It is believed that Gardaí were acting on information received from a local person that an illegal gathering was being held in the parish church, Meanwhile in Ireland has been told. Chief Superintend Patrick O’Shea spoke to reporters at the scene.
“We were acting on an anonymous tip-off from local publican Paddy Mulligan, who for obvious reasons doesn’t want to be named — Paddy is in fear of his life of reprisals. So we decided to mount uncover surveillance outside the church.
FBI ‘walky talkies’
“We had two guards parked outside in the Churchyard and another female member pretending to be putting flowers on a grave, so she was. Oh ’twas all very covert so it was. They were using the new walkie talkies we got sent down from Dublin.
“Jaysus, they’re great things altogether so they are. You can talk into your sleeve like them FBI guys so you can,” the very impressed with new-technology Chief Super told the press.
50 mass-goers arrested
The Chief Super related the turn of events which led to the arrest of the 50 Mass-goers and the subsequent involvement of the Garda Public Order Unit in the matter.
It is reported that the undercover Gardaí noticed that some ‘auld-wans’ were arriving up to the church and giving discrete taps on the door before being left into the church where local priest Fr Donal O’ Leary was saying the early morning mass.
Upon using a battering ram to break down the church door, Gardaí found 50 elderly ‘auld-wans’ inside carrying out their weekly devotions. “Jaysus they hadn’t the slightest care in the world about the virus or maintaining the auld-social-distance thingy,” the Chief Super said.
“But they got the fright of their lives when the SWAT lads burst in the door. Two of them tried to hide in a confession box and another jumped up on a pedestal and tried to pretend she was a statue of Saint Bridget. The two altar boys and the priest legged it out the backdoor and the search for them is ongoing.”
‘Pelting rosary beads’
“The trouble really started when the 50 we had to arrest started pelting rosary beads and hymn books at the guards that’s when we had to use the pepper spray to quieten them. It worked a treat, so it did. It wasn’t long before we had them cuffed and in the back of the paddy-wagon.”
Meanwhile in Ireland understands that Gardaí will be objecting to bail when the women appear in court. We also note that local bar owner and informer Paddy Mulligan has been placed in protective custody after receiving death threats from a militant branch of the local Legion of Mary.