The Rose of Tralee has hit back at claims that it is nothing more than a ‘lovely girls’ competition after a successful renewal of the event this year.
The winner of this year’s competition announced that she was gay upon becoming the 2014 Rose of Tralee, which was welcomed as a way to garner positive interest in the event.
However Executive Chairman Anthony O’Gara has issued an open letter on the event’s website to defend the Rose of Tralee against Father Ted jibes.
“We’re not sensitive to criticism, but we are sensitive to boorish nonsense from uninformed opinion writers,” O’Gara’s statement reads.
“The Rose of Tralee is not all about: Paddy Whackery, Colleens on Parade, Stepford Wives tricked out as national stereotypes, flagrant misogyny or masquerading as Irish culture,” it continues.
“Please, get over the outdated ‘lovely girls’ joke. We have.
“We don’t do more ‘mock Irishness’ or indulge in ‘plastic paddies’. The 200,000 people who engage with us annually and the TV viewers are real people.”
O’Gara reiterated the event’s intention to celebrate successful women and to promote the tradition of the Rose of Tralee.
“We don’t have a 1950s ethos – we do have a proud history and each year the Roses reflect women as they are today. Their ethos is ours.
“We are not interested in stereotyping women. We celebrate exceptional women and accept them as the proud people they are, whatever that might be.”
He ended the letter by welcoming the public to watch the 2014 Rose appear on the Late Late Show this evening to see for themselves why the event was something to be celebrated.
“Let’s see if you don’t fall under the spell,” it ends.