Upbeat Londonderry wedding photographer Donal Doherty has vowed the show will go on this weekend despite his nuptials being crashed by a bomb alert at the Waterfoot Hotel on Friday.
Mr Doherty, who has previously enjoyed careers as a PR consultant and model agency director, has spent the past number of years capturing other people’s weddings for posterity.
But, as he was preparing to step out into frame for his own wedding tomorrow, he received an alarming text from his sister advising there was a security alert at the hotel where dozens of his guests from Britain and the United States are due to stay tonight, Friday, October 9.
He had, in fact, been going to the hotel himself to start work on his speech when the news arrived.
“Obviously, I’m a wedding photographer, I’m getting married myself tomorrow, so it’s the other side of all this.
“We are actually getting married down at Lough Eske but all the guests are staying here tonight, so we have 30 to 40 guests from all over the UK, America, just about to arrive here to check in, and actually myself, I was coming here to go into the bridal suite and write my speech for tomorrow, just to have two hours off.
“Obviously, I’ve arrived here and...there’s been this incident.”
Mr Doherty says it was suggested the guests relocate to another hotel until the alert was cleared.
He said it was a pity Londonderry was being shown in such a light.
“Not a great impression for us.
“But you know what? The show will go on. We’re going to have a good weekend. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a blip for us.”
DUP MLA Gary Middleton said it was deeply concerning for people living in the houses across the street from the hotel.
“People of this area are completely sick to the teeth of this kind of activity.
“My understanding is that a warning was given to the police that there may be a device or that there would be a device within the premises of the Waterfoot.
“So obviously that’s deeply concerning for, not only the police, but for ourselves
“Regardless of what happened here there’s the fear factor. “
Mr Middleton added: “There’s a lot of residents came out today and they are absolutely disgusted but they are scared about how this has happened so close to their homes.”
The Waterfoot had been due to host a PSNI recruitment event on Saturday but prior to the alert that had been postponed until October 17.
The Strule Arts Centre in Omagh and Belfast Metropolitan College, which were also due to host police recruitment events, were also evacuated on Friday.