The Rose of Tralee has defended festival organisers.
Maggie McEldowney says at no point was any Rose asked to remain apolitical or to change her views in any way whatsoever.
However, she says it was made clear to Roses that everyone was allowed to hold their own views on issues but that out of respect for the festival, not to use the Rose platform to share those beliefs.
During a televised interview, Sydney Rose, Brianna Parkins, said she supported a referendum on the constitutional guarantee to the unborn’s right to life.
In an email to Radio Kerry, new Rose of Tralee Maggie McEldowney writes: “Could you imagine if all 65 of us had a political agenda on stage? That is not what this festival is about – and that is ok.”
However, the Chicago woman praises Roses who’re confident enough to share their viewpoints on their own time.
Ms McEldowney says festival organisers are just asking Roses to respect the event and what it stands for while they are representing it.
She says none of the Roses felt right about how they found out which women were to make it to the televised finals.
Ms McEldowney says the festival committee has asked her to field suggestions and inputs from the other contestants.
She says organisers and chaperones had been made out by the media to be ‘heartless, ruthless media-seeking robots’ and that the Roses had been represented as ‘ungrateful, catty princesses who’re only in it for the show.’
Maggie McEldowney says she looks forward to a busy and productive year as the Rose of Tralee.