Radio’s “greatest social experiment” has been deemed somewhat of a failure, as the couple who were “married” live on iRadio as part of an on-air competition earlier have already split up.
Nigel Finegan and Ann Marie O’ Neill split one week after meeting and taking part in a marriage ceremony at the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone, following the experiment by the youth radio station.
The couple had not actually signed the “intent to marry” notice, despite having intended to, before being flown to Turkey by the station for their “honeymoon” last Sunday, but the “marriage” lasted less than 48 hours into the stay.
Speaking to the Irish Sun, Nigel said: “We all wanted the fairytale! We do get on really well but there just wasn’t much of a spark”. However, ‘bride’ Ann-Marie said the couple had a ‘heart-to-heart’ during their time together and that the only ‘spark’ with Nigel was to do with one off-putting habit of his: “He is a smoker, which I didn’t know and I find very unattractive, and he smoked a lot on the holiday. I was not aware of any of that before we left”. She added: “I’m not sure if he’s ready yet to settle down.”
Looking back on the competition, Anne-Marie had no regrets, concluding: “I’m not that naive. I sensed it anyway but I was willing to give it a go and see what happens, but we needed…. to just be honest with each other. I still believe in love but I was invested in this and it is disappointing. I won’t be rushing out looking for love anytime soon”.
The station came in for considerable criticism for holding the promotion in the first place including claims that it was disrespectful towards the institution of marriage. However, Sandra Kirrane of iRadio (who was also on the “honeymoon” trip) told The Daily Edge that the station were still happy with the competition, saying : “Unfortunately it didn’t really work out between them – the wedding was a beautiful day but on the honeymoon they decided not to stay together”. She added: “Ann Marie was very invested in it from the start – she really wanted to find love – so everyone is disappointed that there was no fairytale ending”.
Sandra said that the competition turned out to be Ann Marie’s story, adding: “The people got to know Ann Marie because she was on air so much – but she hasn’t been on since, as it’s just a little bit soon. They really enjoyed the honeymoon and Turkey – Nigel just didn’t feel the spark was there. They did spend plenty of time together and there is no animosity about the split”.