The men were 'shy, rude and desperate' -- but woman loses dating agency claim

Anita Guidera

A WOMAN who sought damages from a dating agency for failing to screen prospective suitors has had her case dismissed.

Annemarie McBrearty (35), Oldtown, Letterkenny, Co Donegal, was introduced to four men through the Happy Matchmaker dating agency but failed to find romance.

Instead one of the men wanted to take her home to spend a weekend with him on the second date while another "put his tongue" in her mouth when she leaned over to deliver a polite peck on the cheek.

Donegal District Court Judge Kevin Kilrane dismissed Ms McBrearty's claim for €6,348.99 for negligence, breach of duty and fraudulent misrepresentation.


Ms McBrearty claimed it became clear after four introductions that the prospective suitors had not been vetted or screened in any way. As a result she was "groped, assaulted and battered without lawful excuse".

Ms McBrearty paid €600 to the matchmaking agency in January 2009 for introductions to 12 men.

The first man was so shy that he uttered just two sentences in 45 minutes on their first and only date. When she asked him about his interests such as the cinema, all he could say was "times are hard".

She met the second date, who had availed of a Valentine's Day special offer at the agency, in a coffee shop. After taking her number he said he would be getting back on to the agency to see what else they had to offer.

The third date seemed "extremely desperate" and became verbally aggressive with her. She left the hotel bar in tears. He later apologised and she gave him a second chance at which he invited her to stay at his home for a weekend "to get to know him better".

She met man Number 4 in a coffee shop and decided she wasn't attracted to him at all.

When she reached to give him a peck on the cheek in a polite goodbye he leaned in, put his arm around her and put his tongue in her mouth.

"I was disgusted. It was not that we were going to start snogging in a shopping centre in the middle of the day," she said.

Agency boss Mary Mitchell, who set up the agency three years ago because she wanted to help people, told the court of her screening system before matching couples.

She said that since the case had been publicised she received calls threatening her business, which had gone downhill, forcing her to let go her only staff member.

Judge Kilrane said that the plaintiff was not vulnerable, but articulate and well able to state her case. "Four men were introduced to her and they all appeared to be within the range of compatibility," he said.


Summing up the four men, the judge said that the first one was shy, the second one was "more unmannerly" while the third was "desperate for a partner" and wanted action straight away.

The fourth man may have been offered a peck on the cheek but felt it was otherwise.

"A misunderstanding can arise in this type of situation. There is no suggestion he was anything but over enthusiastic," he said.

The judge said none of the evidence related to sexual predators and none of the men in the case fitted into that category.

Dismissing the case, the judge made no order on costs, saying he found both sides in the dispute absolutely honest.