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Birthday boy Steve shows off new love

Apprentice runner-up Stephen Higgins firmly quashed rumours that he and fellow contestant Aoiffe Madden are an item, when he turned up to their joint 26th birthday bash over the weekend with a new girlfriend.

The Diary can reveal the flame-haired businessman is now dating blonde beauty Lisa Healy, and was happy for the whole world to know it when he brought her along as his date to the double celebration in Krystle nightclub.

Aoiffe (right), who had been linked to the entrepreneur, said that he and Lisa were a great match.

"Stephen was there with his new girlfriend so I think that firmly knocked any thoughts that we were together on the head," she explained.

"I'm just enjoying the single life at the moment, there's no romance to report for me," she laughed.

The blonde beauty admits that she and Stephen had contemplated postponing the party due to the weather but decided against it, given that so many of their friends and family were making the journey from as far away as Galway and Mayo.

And while a host of well-known stars from the show, including the Breffmeister, made an appearance at the party, Bill Cullen's new employee, Steve Rayner was not among them.

Aoiffe said: "He wanted to come but, as it was his first week of work with Bill, he also wanted to get home to his family in Skibbereen and tell them all about it."

Other guests at the bash included Brendan Moore and Maria Loughran.