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Local MEP defends Rose of Tralee Festival following inclusivity concerns

May 5, 2023 14:07 By Shannonside News
Local MEP defends Rose of Tralee Festival following inclusivity concerns
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Local activist Isabelle Flanagan believes that the festival is outdated and does not represent modern Irish Women.

A local MEP has defended the Rose of Tralee following claims it's not open to all women.

Former winner and current Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh responded to arguments from Isabelle Flanagan, that despite claims, the festival still operates as a beauty pageant.

The local activist and former Social Democrat representative believes that the festival is outdated and does not represent modern Irish Women.

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Speaking on the Joe Finnegan Show, Isabelle argues that plus size women or those with disabilities are rarely seen on the stage:

It's not made by feminists, it's not made for women and they will say it is not a beauty pageant and it's not any of this stuff.

I would say a lot of the contestants, the vast majority, are what we view as conventionally attractive.

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I don't tend to see any plus sized women entering, I just think it is very outdated. But as I said to you on the phone if women want to enter it, then that is up to them.

Responding to the claims, 2014 Rose of Tralee and Fine Gael MEP for the Midlands Northwest, Maria Walsh says that the competition is as inclusive as those taking part want it to be.

I'm always a little thrown back by that , because it is an inclusive festival and actually only in the last few years they have reinforced that inclusivity.

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I'm not the only LGBTI Rose applicant who has put up their hand and got involved in the festival, nor should I be.

The festival is as inclusive as the women and those who identify as women, want it to be.

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