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It has 185 introductions in progress and 10 engagements.The service, established to help Catholics find suitable marriage partners, has been responsible for 910 marriages and more than 18,000 introductions.About two weeks after applicants are matched by the service, they are contacted to see whether they have met up and how they are getting on.

Founded by the late Fr Michael Keane, fondly known as Ireland’s Cupid Priest, it is currently run by Canon Joseph Cooney, a retired parish priest of Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo.

Fr Keane set up the service because of the low marriage rate in rural Ireland in the 1960s.

On average around ten couples matched through the agency marry each year.

In its history, the agency has matched over 900 couples, but the number is probably higher, says Canon Cooney, as they do not know about all the marriages.

As this is a branch of Catholic Action, it is presumed that all applicants are free to marry and seeking a Catholic marriage.

No definite promise can be made that all those who apply to us will find a life partner; but all who register can be sure that every effort will be made to help them.He does not measure success on any particular criteria. I think it’s a success when people meet, and get together and they find they have something in common and they go out, whether they go out for a week, a month or a year, get engaged, live together or marry.” The agency has had three marriages in two years.In Knock Marriage Introductions, marriage is not the only measure of success either.Canon Cooney, who has been running the service for eight years, has found that more professional women rely on it to find a suitable marriage partner.“I am hoping the website will encourage more men to apply, because we have a lot of professional women on our books — nurses, doctors, and teachers.” The introduction service’s 45th annual report shows it received 580 written enquiries and about 1,000 phone enquiries last year.“They’ve applied to different agencies, they have gone out, but they are meeting the wrong kind of people and at the end of the day they come back to us and they say that Knock Marriage Introductions has been the best,” she says.