The Irish Flying Squad, so named since they're usually drinking on duty, crushed a bizarre plot in Waterford, arresting more than 7 non working immigrants who had planned to abduct a local artist for 'blasphemy' against Cult Leader Bob Ross known for his TV Art Series, "Happy Clouds, Cushy Bums."
Those arrested came from a broad cross section of the now deceased Ross's world; Algeria, Libya, Croatia, Palestine and the US. Officials said they had been living legally in Ireland for up to 10 years, but had been unable to find suitable work despite the country's tremendous economic growth prior to 2008, and were therefore lovingly cared for thanks to Ireland's well known generosity toward 'gifted and artistic' asylum seekers.
The local artist, who has since gone into hiding and been provided with at least two (2) new identities for his own safety, is best known for his reproductions of some of Ross's most famous works which he hawks on a side walk outside of the now infamous "Oasis Bar & Grill" in Dublin, which is a spinoff of the more popular establishment outside of London.
Controversy erupted last year in the Irish Art World (pardon the oxymoron), when devotees of Ross accused the artist of prostituting his work with wabbits in the foreground of serene nature scenes, apparently fornicating.
Another work, when viewed from a distance of approximately 12 meters depicting a snow capped mountain scene, showed a convergence of chiseled stone which could have been a self portrait of Ross sitting on the Loo during a moment of intense personal concentration. His most controversial was a depiction of an Irish Setter napping on what appeared to be a prayer rug next to a foot bath used as a water bowl.
Critics have also accused the artist of perverting Mr. Ross's use of the now famous "Fan Brush", with the use of an electric fan which one critic says depicts "his distain for Irish art by seeing how much paint he can throw on a canvas and see what sticks!"
Unconfirmed reports have the artist, identified only as "Mr. M.", either fleeing to Thailand where he has taken up Hut Painting, or being exiled to Scotland where a sudden spurt of graffiti has sprung up on government buildings amidst scenes of 'Happy Clouds' and the rallying cry of "FREE FERGUS!"
Meanwhile, the EU Council of Ministers is conferring to see if any of the detained conspirator's human rights were violated, and how much additional compensation they should be awarded.