Attractive Irish undergraduates are in huge demand from wealthy, middle-aged Americans, who are willing to pay their tuition fees, clear their student debts and pay them thousands of euro a month in exchange for a brief no-strings-attached fling.
But the so-called “college sugar babies” are also being paired off with rich Irish businessmen, often twice or even three times their age, with whom they work out a short-term arrangement that suits both parties.
US-based SeekingArrangement.com, which specialises in matching rich men from all over the world with younger women who are looking to benefit financially, has more than one million members across the globe.
But the agency’s chiefs say Irish membership now totals around 5,000 — the largest outside the US.
Agency bosses say interest from Ireland has catapulted since the recession, as debt-ridden students seek short-term solutions to clear their loans and ensure they have enough funds to pay their way through college.
Although critics have panned the site as a playground for ageing adulterers, Seeking Arrangement’s spokesman Stephan Smith insists they are creating relationships which are “mutually beneficial”.
He said: “We’ve at least 5,000 members from Ireland now and many of these are young female students, in their 20s, who are looking to get financially compensated from a relationship. In return for companionship, the man will give them a monthly allowance and often clear their student debts.
“So from their point of view, it’s attractive because it could mean the difference between finishing college or being forced to drop out.
“In some cases, the relationship remains platonic, but in the majority of cases there will be intimacy. But Irish girls are in massive demand, particularly from American men. And they probably have the best shot at bagging a millionaire out of any nationality.
“The men who sign up like the idea of a fair-skinned girl, maybe with red hair, who is charming and English-speaking.
“All arrangements are different, but in some cases there could be just one or two meetings between the parties. The girl from Ireland might be flown over for a weekend and showered with gifts and hospitality and then go back home and return to college. For the girl, the attraction is purely financial and if she is looked after, she is willing to put up with a large age gap.
“The biggest age gap I’ve noted is 65 years. That was when we paired off a 21-year-old girl with an American man who was 86. That man had an annual income of about €10 million.”
The Irish clients — both “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies” — who have posted profiles on the site are just as up-front as their American counterparts about what they want in a relationship.
A 35-year-old blonde Dubliner said she expects to receive a monthly allowance of between $3,000 (€2,164) to $5,000 (€3,606) from her partner in return for meeting up “from time to time”.
One Dublin-based multi-millionaire, 48, claiming a net worth of up to $50 million and an annual income of $1million, said he was willing to pay a monthly allowance of up to $5,000 to a “sugar baby.”
Seeking Arrangements also caters for wealthy women, or “sugar mommies” who are looking for a short-term relationship with a toyboy in return for financial remuneration.