THE REPUBLIC OF Ireland has deployed troops to the English city of Manchester overnight in a move that has caught the UK completely off-guard.
The Irish government is citing the protection of citizens of Irish descent from the potentially hazardous influence of growing Chinese interest in the city.
Officials had become uneasy late last year as plans moved ahead for £800 million of Chinese investment in a new ‘airport city’ at Manchester Airport.
Government sources say that the mass pro-Irish parades in the city last month convinced the Republic to move in its armed forces.
“We are protecting ethnic Irish,” said Captain O’Dea of the Irish Navy, who led his ship, the LÉ Róisín, from the Irish Sea up the Manchester Ship Canal under cover of darkness, landing in Salford Quays.
“To be honest, nobody’s interested in Salford but it’s just the quickest way in,” said O’Dea, whose 5,000-strong troop detachment was greeted with little more than mild surprise from the local population.
While Downing Street has scrambled to condemn the action, China has been quick to make vague, ominous-sounding threats about possible ‘sanctions’ for Ireland in the global market.
David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, this morning tweeted: “I deplore today’s decision by Ireland on the use of armed forces in Manchester.”
One cabinet minister was reported to have said: “It’s not like Manchester is important at all, but it’s just so dashed rude of them.”
The Irish government released a statement this morning pointing to the Irish festivities of mid-March, saying: “Clearly these people want to be a part of Ireland.
“The people of Manchester did not ask for a new Chinese airport city. This is another crime, another provocation essentially supported by the current authorities in the Town Hall.”
City officials were not available for comment. It was not clear if they were too fearful to come into work, or whether this was just another routine day for them.
Critics of Ireland’s move are emphasising that a Chinese airport city in Manchester would not suit the behemoth Irish airline Ryanair, whose political sway is thought to have grown vast in recent years.
Rumours have already begun circulating that Michael O’Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair, is now instead negotiating a lucrative deal with the Irish government to tarmac large parts of Cheshire for his own airport project.
Irish officials have been busy organising a referendum for the city – the UK’s third-largest – on whether it will join the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish government’s statement said: “The referendum will be decided on a vote by acclamation, this Saturday night outside the Printworks, with our soldiers on hand to assist.”
It is so far unclear how enthusiastic the people of Manchester really are for the idea of annexation. One disgruntled local, out walking his whippet at dawn, said: “Why not – we could dig a bloody tunnel to Dublin by the time that High Speed Two thing gets up here.”
Another added: “As long as we can still get all the old telly channels and a bit of Radio 1, I don’t mind really.”
Meanwhile, a draft letter to the Irish government seen by Pandeia reporters and co-signed by the leaders of India, Pakistan, Poland and Jamaica, stated: “Oi, we fancy a bit of that action as well.” Irish officials declined to comment on whether they had received such a letter.
– – –
Do the Irish have a legitimate claim to the city of Manchester? Is the idea of a referendum by acclamation a clever innovation or a few thousand years out of date? Is all of this kind of thing fine, just as long as all the world’s barbarians never breach London’s gates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Words: Sean Gibson
Photo credits: Top photo (Irish Defence Forces); inset 1 (Zarrion Walker); inset 2 (Zarrion Walker).
DISCLAIMER: This article is an April Fool’s joke. It is complete hogwash. Don’t believe a word of it.