Ireland's most romantic man has been stripped of his crown following protests that he'd been convicted of "committing two acts which were offensive to public morals and decency", viz; "following women around Galway City in his car while masturbating".
Aidan Clifford and partner Ellen Spence, who met on a skiing trip in 2007, "beat off stiff opposition"* to secure the Irish Wedding Journal's "Ireland’s Most Romantic Couple" title.
According to The Clare People, the pair won a €46,000 prize, which included "a wedding reception in the renowned Parknasilla Resort in Kerry, a designer wedding dress from either Kathy de Stafford in Dublin or Blush Bridal in Belfast and a luxury Sandals honeymoon from Tropical Places".
However, the Irish Wedding Journal was unaware that Clifford appeared last year in Galway District Court where he admitted driving to Galway on his days off from work "specifically to follow women around in his car while fondling himself".
According to the Evening Herald, his solicitor claimed Clifford's lifestyle was to blame and that he was "working himself to the bone".**
The couple currently live in Kinvara, County Galway, but Clifford works in nearby Ballyvaughan, where unimpressed residents queued up to express their outrage. One declared the whole thing a "total disgrace", adding: "My own grandchildren play down in Ballyvaughan all the time. It’s bad enough to think that this man is around, never mind putting him up on a pedestal like this."
Another insisted there was “a lot of animosity here about it. Everybody is disgusted."
The Irish Wedding Journal duly responded by withdrawing the couple's €46k booty. The magazine told the Evening Herald: "The nature of his conviction is entirely incompatible with the ethos of Ireland's Wedding Journal and the competition and we regard his entering this competition in the first place as a breach of good faith on his part.
"With regret we have come to the decision that no prize will be awarded this year." ®
*Yup, good work there by The Clare People. Pints all round.
**Yes, yes - pints all round at the Evening Herald too.