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New York couple betrothed — and be-dipped

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Pierce O’Reilly

New York newlyweds Lisa Gurtherie and Francie O’Reilly, of Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, got their new life together off to a clean start recently when they were "dipped" on the way to their wedding reception because of the foot-and-mouth crisis in Ireland.

The couple, who live in Yonkers, told the Echo this week that they were amused when officials along the border told them that they wouldn’t be allowed into the Republic without crossing the already infamous disinfectant mats that are paramount to the prevention of the disease spreading into the south via the border crossings.

"I thought at first it was a joke," recalled Lisa. "This big, burly police officer said that we’d have to stand on the mats if we wanted to proceed."

The border crossings have being manned 24 hours a day by Department of Agriculture officials and police since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was reported at Meigh in South Armagh on March 1. Since then, every vehicle and person crossing into the South has been "dipped" in an all-out effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

Lisa and Francie had to cross the border on two occasions on their big day, March.

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"We had no problems heading to the church — St. Mary’s at Magherarney, Smithboro — but on the return journey we got stopped," Francie said this week.

The newlyweds were approached at the border checkpoint at Leggykelly and asked to stand on the mats before heading off to their reception in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell.

Lisa, who’s 27, and Francie, 26, had packed their boots for the occasion after police warned them the day before that they had to stand on the mats.

"It was hilarious, really — something that we’ll never forget," Lisa said. "The photos will be something else, me, my wellies, my wedding dress and, oh yes, the garter."

The couple honeymooned in Italy and arrived back in New York last week.

"We’ve no major plans right now to move back home," Francie said. "Anything is possible, however, in the future. It’ll take a while to get over the wedding and then get settled back into work."]

Francie works in the construction industry, while Lisa is a graphic designer in Manhattan.

The couple met at the Catalpa bar in Woodlawn almost two years ago, while Lisa was on a business trip from her home in San Francisco.

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