BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND—The Irish Republican Army announced Monday that it will embark on its most aggressive campaign of violence ever if McDonald's Shamrock Shakes are not made available year-round.
"The Shamrock Shake is a frosty, minty symbol of all that we hold dear," said Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political wing. "It is shameful that we as a people cannot enjoy this proud, symbolic beverage any more than one week a year."
"Unless the British government loosens its iron grip on this most Irish of shakes," Adams continued, "the streets will once again run red with English blood."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to give in to the IRA demands. "The extremist threats of these people are unconscionable," Blair said in an impassioned speech before Parliament. "The Shamrock Shake is only available for a limited time."
"Having to endure this minty, appalling beverage once a year is bad enough," House of Lords member Edward Shropshire-Fentwick said. "It will be a black day in England indeed when the Irish masses are free to have their barbaric shake whenever and wherever they want it."
In addition to year-round Shamrock Shake availability, the IRA called for the immediate release of the infamous "Shake Seven." Imprisoned since 1983 for the bombing of a McDonald's Anglican Apple shake-mix factory in Manchester, the Shake Seven maintain their innocence to this day.
"If fighting on behalf of what one believes in is a crime, then let us all hang," said Liam O'Fachna, the group's leader, from his cell in Birmingham Jail. "Shamrock Shakes forever."
The IRA also demanded that the delicious, Irish-Catholic-themed shakes be made available at all restaurants, not just participating McDonald's. "No single restaurant chain should have control over our delicious, frosty heritage," Adams said.
Though a connection has not been confirmed, Monday's IRA announcement coincided with an explosion at a British bank in Long Strand, an East Belfast enclave of Protestant orange-shake drinkers. In addition, a truck carrying Alpine Raspberry shake mix, McDonald's next scheduled specialty flavor, was overturned in the Ardoyne neighborhood of Belfast.
In a videotaped statement from an IRA safehouse somewhere near Belfast, Uncle O'Grimacey, the most radical member of the Grimace family, demanded the immediate loosening of Shamrock Shake restrictions throughout Northern Ireland. "Release the shakes to us at once," O'Grimacey said, "or the lives of your children will be forfeit."
McDonald's shake representative Grimace took pains to distance himself from his radical IRA uncle.
"All shakes in their time is my watchword, and certain flavors all year," Grimace said. "O'Grimacey is a radical Grimace acting without the approval of the McDonald's Corporation."
The Shamrock Shake was banned in Northern Ireland until 1920, when Parliament voted to allow its consumption once a year, during the week of St. Patrick's Day. Between 1968 and 1994, more than 3,000 were killed in shake-related incidents of violence, including some 350 deaths during the "Minty March" Riots of 1974.
According to Irish legend, the Shamrock Shake first appeared when a statue of the Virgin Mary in front of St. Matthew's Cathedral in Belfast cried a 16-ounce quantity of the green beverage in 1605.