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Knock agency appalled at alleged internet dating scam

By Susan Gately - 07 December, 2013

The Secretary of Ireland’s longest running matchmaking agency, Knock Marriage Introductions, has described the treatment of a man who paid €500 to an internet dating agency in Ireland, and met a woman for about 30 minutes before seeing her out later having a drink with her boyfriend, as “appalling”.

John was speaking on Liveline on Wednesday (4th December 2013), and was convinced that the whole thing was “a set up”. 

Leona Connery, Secretary Knock Marriage Introductions (photo by S. Gately)

Leona Connery, Secretary Knock Marriage Introductions (photo by S. Gately)

Leona Connery, Secretary of Knock Marriage Introductions, said she was shocked by the story. “People are so vulnerable,” she told CatholicIreland.net. “They don’t know what they’re setting themselves up for.”

Knock Marriage Introductions which was set up in 1968, asks for an annual subscription of €150 and according to Leona, they make “every effort in arranging for couples to meet.”

If a meeting does not work out, clients are usually back immediately to Leona, or the director of the agency, Canon Joseph Cooney, and straight away they try to organise another meeting.

“Our clients meet six, seven or eight people a year,” she said. “We don’t stop, we keep trying.”

In the coming year (2014), seven of the couples they matched this year, will wed, and there may be more. On average around ten couples matched through the agency marry each year.

In its history, the agency has matched over 900 couples, but the number is probably higher, says Canon Cooney, as they do not know about all the marriages.

“It can be very rewarding when you get a notice back saying ‘Everything is going fine for us. We’re getting married next June,’ as happened only recently,” he told CatholicIreland.net.  Leona and the Canon work closely as a team, sitting side by side and working their way through the applications every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.  

Canon Cooney (photo by S. Gately)

Canon Cooney (photo by S. Gately)

Couples generally make contact through their website www.knockmarriageintroductions.com.  

Individuals download two forms, fill them out and send them to the agency along with two postcard sized recent photos and the annual subscription.

Members, who range in age from 26 to 80, must agree to meet at least one of three suggested introductions offered. Often Leona or Canon Joseph will meet clients in person.

According to Leona, many have tried internet dating before coming to Knock.

“They’ve applied to different agencies, they have gone out, but they are meeting the wrong kind of people and at the end of the day they come back to us and they say that Knock Marriage Introductions has been the best,”  she says.

On Thursday’s Liveline, David Merren of Topmatch Ireland said he too was appalled by John’s story. He had heard one or two similar stories before.

“I hope it doesn’t happen again.” Dave meets all his clients face to face, and then tries to match “like for like”.

He does not measure success on any particular criteria. “Success is relative. I think it’s a success when people meet, and get together and they find they have something in common and they go out, whether they go out for a week, a month or a year, get engaged, live together or marry.” The agency has had three marriages in two years.

In Knock Marriage Introductions, marriage is not the only measure of success  either.

“You can sense a heartache of loneliness and that’s what we really work on, whether they marry or not, particularly in their 50s or 60s, if we can match them, they’ll be companions for one another,” says Canon Cooney.

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