LOVE is in the air, particularly around Knock, where the country’s oldest marriage introduction service facilitated 11 marriages last year. Clearly Cupid remains smitten by the traditional-style service, which has increasingly attracted young professional women – including teachers, doctors and nurses – aged in their thirties.
Recently renamed Knock Marriage Introductions, the Catholic Church service was founded by the late Father Michael Keane in 1968, leading to 910 marriages over its 45-year history.
Figures just released from the service’s 45th Annual Report reveal that in 2012 they received 1,000 telephone inquiries and 580 written queries. The applicant breakdown by gender and age showed: 69 men (aged 25-45), 29 men (46-75); 66 women (aged 25-45), 23 women (46-75).
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, Canon Joseph Cooney, Director, said the service’s ‘proven track record’ ensured consistent levels of interest year-on-year.
“I believe that a significant part of our success is that our clients feel secure throughout the introduction procedure. After we process the questionnaires we try to match them based on age, location and educational level. We also look at height too. Certainly women don’t want to be with smaller men but we have to take into account the height of their heels!” Canon Cooney said.
He explained the process requires that a client must accept one of any three matches suggested and mobile phone numbers are only exchanged when agreement is reached.
Canon Cooney told The Mayo News that while he hoped all the applicants were practising Catholics, clients are not aksed a direct question about this.
Confirming the upsurge in thirty-something professional women signing up to the site, Canon Cooney said the largest number of recent applicants were from Dublin, with Mayo, Galway, Cork and Waterford following.
The website states that if introductions do not progress, the person who decides to opt out should inform the other person frankly of their decision and also inform the Knock office, where both parties may receive further introductions. It also notes that the service does not introduce people from the same parish and ‘preferably’ clients are aged under 25 years.
It also confirms that applications for introductions are accepted and considered valid for one year at a cost of €150. It ensures prospective clients that their applications are ‘treated in the strictest of confidence with no address divulged by them to either person concerned in an introduction and all correspondence is forwarded by post in plain, sealed, envelopes’.