Strangers in the night – why I think online dating is a risky business


Once thought of as a strange way of meeting someone, online dating has now lost its stigma, with attitudes around it growing more positive by the day – and I’d say there’s many a Roscommon People reader who has met the love of their lives, or at least set up a romantic liaison, following interaction on some online dating site or on social media. However, is this a constructive and encouraging trend or is it something we need to be concerned about?

  Last week, we all heard the horrific details surrounding 31-year-old Dublin mother Sonia Blount’s tragic and brutal murder at the hands of her devious, sadistic ex-boyfriend, Eric Locke; a narcissistic thug, whose grandiose sense of self-importance and savage nature wouldn’t allow him accept that this poor woman had dumped him. Using a fake Facebook profile, (easily done), depraved Locke lured this beautiful single mother who’d previously broken off their relationship due to her being ‘in fear of him’ (forcing her to cut off all contact between them), to a hotel room where he subjected her to a level of such abominable torture I cannot go into detail because it upsets me too much – and this is a family newspaper – before finally strangling and suffocating her to death. I have to tell you folks, as a mother of a daughter who uses online dating sites, Sonia Blount’s murder has sent shockwaves through my system and I don’t know how her grief-stricken family and her orphaned little boy will ever come to terms with what happened to this beautiful young woman, but I pray they somehow manage to cope.

  And so, if anyone reading this hasn’t quite found what they’re looking for in a partner/friend/future spouse down in the local pub or nightclub, and is instead planning a romantic liaison this week with a stranger they’ve met online, in order to make sure it doesn’t turn into a dangerous liaison, I’d like to offer readers the same tips I’ve offered my own daughter…I hope you don’t mind.

  Read the profile carefully: Is the information a bit sketchy? Is the profile pic a bit vague and grainy? Is there a mobile number? If so, check it out, ring it, see who answers.

  Do you have any social media friends in common? If so, do a recce, get their honest opinions regarding his/her personality – now I don’t mean do they snore in bed or pick food out of their teeth; what you want to ascertain before your date is…will I be safe?

  If you don’t like what you see/hear, delete and block! Hubby jokes that my own ‘blocked’ list is longer than my friend list, and believe me, I have good reason for doing this.

  When meeting up for the first, second or third date, always choose a neutral, public place and please folks, never do it in a hotel room or at yours or their house. No randomer needs to know your personal address that soon into the relationship.

  Plan your exit: Meet during your work lunch break, that way you’ve got a great excuse to make a hasty exit, should you need to, and colleagues will surely miss you if you’re late. When I was working on a potentially dangerous investigative piece for a TV documentary some years ago I had to meet an – oh what’s the polite euphemism here…yes, a skin-crawling sycophant. He suggested a South Dublin restaurant and I had a female colleague sit discreetly at a nearby table keeping watch. That was how risky the situation was likely to get. So always have back-up whereby you can go to the loo and text your mate.

  Look, we can all accept that dating poses a risk, but cyber-dating poses a higher probability that something may go wrong, so treat dating like driving your car…buckle up and keep an eye out for that twisted headbanger doing 100km in a 50km zone. Please take care. 

I want to cruise on a Kwaka

Well, well, well, folks, if any of you’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ since the 1986 release of Top Gun, buckle up, ‘cos we’re once again gonna go through the Danger Zone as Lover Boy Tom Cruise confirms there’s a sequel in the pipeline! Oh yeah, La La Land’s favourite pocket-rocket will once again star as Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchel and Take My Breath Away…swoon! Well Tom won’t; I really don’t lust after men who’re the size of a Smurf, but his Kawasaki Ninja GPz900R will…OMG…I want, I want…it’s perfect for short a**e riders like myself and I’ve no problem sitting through a movie, even one where the star looks like Mr. Potato Head with Ken Doll hair, if I can see ‘Maverick’ tear around on that machine…engine on full throttle…oh, me nerves!

Pot luck – it’s never a reliable defence strategy

As we still try to come to terms with the horrific aftermath of a suicide bomber’s legacy of carnage and death, unleashed on the wonderful city of Manchester, maiming and murdering innocent people, including young children and their parents out enjoying what was probably the kids’ first pop concert, I have some questions for our Government.

  When and how are we going to action a national security plan to prevent a similar atrocity happening here? When are we going to take our kid gloves off? Look, our Gardaí and our Defence Forces do an incredible job but, given that so far this year, the terror death toll is rising, i.e.  London, four dead, St Petersburg, 14 dead, Stockholm four dead, Paris one dead (a cop), and Manchester, as I write, 22 dead… I have to ask what’s the story lads, are you going to wait until one of our cities’ citizens are added to this roll call of slaughter, or are you going to act now to protect us?

  I mean folks, nothing should ever take precedent over protecting our families’ lives and, given we’ve got a Government who goes into panic mode the second a snowflake falls – and, as we can’t deal with the overcrowding in A&Es – how would we deal with a serious incident requiring a major emergency response? How would we get the casualties through to A&E? Have we even got enough ambulances? Could our Ministers stop acting like pouting adolescents and could one of them take the lead on this today, for feck’s sake?