Executive Chair of Rose of Tralee Festival says racism is a reality in Ireland

Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher is crowned the 2018 International Rose of Tralee on stage in the Festival Dome at the Rose of Tralee International Festival on 21 August 2018 Photo By Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD - www.dwalshphoto.ie Tralee Co Kerry Ireland Mobile Phone : 00353 87 26 72 033 Land Line : 00 353 66 71 22 981 E/mail : [email protected] WEB Site : www.dwalshphoto.ie

It’s time we face up to racism in Ireland.

That’s according to Anthony O’Gara, Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, who was speaking after the launch of a Garda investigation following alleged racial abuse against the 2018 Rose of Tralee in Kilkenny.

Mr O’Gara says he’s seen an undercurrent of racism following Kirsten Mate Maher’s coronation as the Rose of Tralee.

He says, despite the Irish having been discriminated against in the past, racism is a reality in Ireland, and it’s something which isn’t acceptable in a modern society.

Mr O’Gara says it’s time for Ireland to leave behind any racist ideals.

Mr O’Gara says Kirsten Mate Maher didn’t set out to change attitudes surrounding race in Ireland, however, he feels acknowledging racism may prove to be a turning point.

He says there’s no longer an excuse for racism.