Jeers greet Ireland's wedding of the year

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The Independent Online

It was meant to be Ireland's wedding of the year: Georgina Ahern, glamorous 24-year old daughter of the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, and Nicky Byrne, golden boy of the band Westlife, marrying on Saturday in the historical French town of Gallardon in the Eure Valley, west of Paris.

Many of Ireland's brightest young things, from footballers to pop stars, were invited to a reception in the 16th-century Chateau d'Esclimont, and there was an exclusive $1m (£620,000) deal with Hello! magazine for the photographs.

On the day, though, the atmosphere was less than celebratory. After a week of alleged high-handedness by French police desperate to keep security (and the exclusive Hello! deal) watertight, disgruntled residents of Gallardon greeted the guests not with cheers but with boos.

Irish journalists, sent to cover a story they were unable to witness, clashed with the police and were reportedly kicked. The police blamed the media. The media blamed Mr Ahern, who is taking lessons from a member of the Irish Arts Council in becoming a better public communicator, and the Ahern family. The residents blamed everybody involved.

The boy-band singer proposed to Ms Ahern in a pub last December.