US soldiers 'did not gatecrash wedding'
THE father of a bride has rubbished claims that his daughter's wedding was "gate-crashed" by US troops in battle gear.
When Amelia Walsh and Sean O'Neill tied the knot in Co Clare last week they caused a stir after wedding guests complained that the troops had wandered "uninvited" into the reception.
But yesterday Eamon Walsh from Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare, said the happy couple were "proud" to have the soldiers at their function. He said the newlyweds had actually invited the troops to attend having posed for photographs with them earlier in the day.
Almost 300 troops were booked in to the Clare Inn, near Newmarket-on-Fergus, after their Iraq-bound aircraft was grounded at Shannon Airport by technical problems.
Amelia's father Eamon said the men were "invited in" by the bride and groom who wanted them to experience an Irish wedding. "They behaved in an exemplary manner at all times and if our troops behaved in the same way when they are on peacekeeping duties, I would be very proud," said Mr Walsh.
Several guests had claimed the men "gatecrashed" the wedding. One guest said: "It wouldn't have been so bad if they weren't in uniform but there were some people who were taken aback."
Joe O'Neill, the groom's uncle, stated on his internet blog: "As the soldiers began to mingle into the private banquet area, they were told by their commanding officer that the area was a private party and off limits. Common decency and Irish hospitality, however, overruled political opinions and the groom informed them they were welcome to join the party."