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What we promote is real human interaction.”Jennifer first mooted the possibility of establishing a dating agency around 12 years ago, after reading a magazine article about an Irish woman who’d set up Berkeley International, an elite London-based matchmaking agency.
Having worked in manufacturing for many years, she had the necessary entrepreneurial skills to put her plan into action.
“It was a very significant episode for me because up until that moment, I had always felt very capable.
I’d always presumed that if I found myself in a threatening, awkward or uncomfortable situation I’d be able to handle myself.”While she doesn’t want to reveal the exact nature of the upsetting incident she says it was “very threatening” and made her realise that her personal safety was her main priority.“I dipped my toe into online dating on and off for a few years prior to that incident,” she says.
Raising a family single-handedly, longer working hours, less socializing and financial restrictions mean that for many, the traditional ways of meeting potential suitors are being replaced with online dating and social media sites.
But according to Jennifer Haskins, who gave internet dating a go, these have their pitfalls when it comes to separating “the men from the boys”.
That’s what they come to an agency for.”Jennifer based her agency on the model of the now-defunct Dublin one she previously belonged to.
“But one of the things that’s important to point out is that we’re talking about 10 or 12 years ago when internet dating was in its infancy.
There are so many more sites out there now, it’s a lot more open.“Of course, I’d think twice about it now.
And the interview process is the best way of separating the wheat from the chaff.“We can’t Garda-vet our members but put it like this, someone isn’t going to come to us and go through such a rigorous interview, sharing all their information like their date of birth, their address, what they do for a living, their background and family circumstances, if they have the option of just going on the internet, where they have none of those filters, and can be a predator, looking for vulnerable women,” she explains.“We don’t attract those type of people.
In seven years we have never had one incident, not even a hint of anything happening. People are investing physically, financially and emotionally in this process.