Police disrupts genuine marriage of a Castlederg man with Chinese fiancée 27th July 2011: Immigrants are not wrong. Don’t view them with suspicion.
The general apprehensions and the doubts which the immigrants, and those associated with them, face in their day to day lives has come to fore with the disruption of a genuine marriage.
In fact, to do a great right, the police has been caught doing a great wrong. In its zeal to check fake weddings, it disrupted the marriage of a Northern Ireland man with his pregnant partner, suspecting it to be a "sham marriage".
The police have apologized. But Neil McIlwee has rejected the regret offered by the police. In any case, the incident brings to fore the erroneous way with which things associated with the immigrants are viewed.
McIlwee was about to marry his Chinese fiancée Yanan Sun. But the police entered Derry Guildhall and arrested the two.
In all, five people were held. But subsequently four, including the couple, were set free without charge. One woman was detained by the UK Border Agency, over her immigration status.
Police found out that McIlwee’s wife-to be Yanan Sun was four months pregnant. The couple also appeared to be very much in love.
Soon after the incident, the Police Service of Northern Ireland admitted getting it wrong. But at the same time the police tried to justify their position by claiming they acted in good faith after receiving a tip-off.
On the other hand, McIlwee from Castlederg in county Tyrone made it clear that the apology was not enough to make up for the distress caused.
"An apology? It’s just no good – apologies won’t give us our day back. It won’t make everything better."
"It just doesn’t add up – something on that scale based on an anonymous letter and some paperwork faxed through about two hours before the wedding.
"It just doesn’t happen like that. So there’s a lot of questions that need answered and there’s a lot of people responsible for this mess-up," he asserted.
Their solicitor Karina Breslin said: "I would have thought that in something as serious as disrupting a marriage ceremony that basic police work would have been done, for example, to contact the borders agency and the registrar to find out did it look like a regular marriage."
The couple were married 24 hours later in Castlederg.