St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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From Donegal People's Press, April 5, 1985

By a contributor -
Monday, 1st April, 1885 began like any other Monday morning.

But before the day was out, there was only one subject on everyone's lips - "The Hoax".

It seems that quite a number of residents of St. Johnston received a letter from the ESB that morning, informing them that their electricity meter readings may have been erroneous and that the individual named in the letter may be due a refund for the 'over charge'.

To avail of this refund, the letter stated, that person named, must meet a "Mr. Fergal McGlynn" in the offices of the ESB at 2.00pm. The number of residents who received the letters was never fully established, but the then postman, the late Joe Peoples, stated that he delivered about twenty. There were some who decided to wait and some who telephoned first and some who smelled a rat right away. But it is believed that about a dozen people presented themselves at the offices of the ESB at the appointed time, only to be told it was an "April Fool". Someone had got hold of some official ESB notepaper to carry out the 'hoax'. Most of those who were 'caught out' were somewhat angry at the time, but with the passing of the days and weeks, they could see the funny side of the matter. The Guards were informed, however the prankster or pranksters eluded them and it is not known to this day, over thirty five years later, who sent the 'April Fool' letters. One wonders if there is still an 'open file' on the matter, gathering dust somewhere in the Garda H/Q in Letterkenny. Of course, the supposed ESB official, Mr. Fergal McGlynn did not exist. It's unlikely now that it will ever be known who was responsible, given the passage of time.