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I've got you, babe . . . runaway pig brings town to a standstill

IT was like a scene straight out of the Hollywood blockbuster 'Babe'.

Chaos ensued when a runaway pig made its way onto the main street of Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan.

The large sow made her great escape from a local piggery during the night and eventually trotted up the town's Convent Hill at 8am. Traffic and pedestrians came to a standstill as the sow wandered aimlessly along the footpath, stopping occasionally to peer into various shop windows.

Onlookers said the animal started to squeal uncontrollably when it stopped outside Crosby's Butchers before it ran onto Main Street, forcing a school bus to stop in its tracks.

At this stage, gardai Hugh McCann and Brian O'Sullivan arrived in their patrol car after Carrickmacross garda station had been inundated with phone calls from the public.

Garda O'Sullivan was said to have had some experience of wayward animals.

On his very first day on patrol in Carrickmacross, he was sent to deal with an escaped bull and managed to capture the animal.

In the latest incident, Garda O'Sullivan approached the escaped sow carefully, as Garda McCann tried to ascertain who owned the wayward animal via two-way radio from the safety of the patrol car.

With one eye on the approaching garda, the pig decided to give herself a good scratch against a litter bin before trotting off into the front yard of the nearby Convent of St Louis, with Garda O'Sullivan following closely.

The animal then started to uproot and greedily eat the ornate flowers in the neat flowerbeds of the convent.

Horrified, Sister Marie Byrne brought out a plate of bread and warm milk - which the sow finished off within seconds. But the ploy was enough to save most of the flowers.

A worker from the local piggery was then called and both he and Garda O'Sullivan managed to corner the pig.

It was given a full garda escort back down Convent Hill and returned, without further incident, to the Mullinarry Farm piggery.