Belfast Telegraph

What colour's your underwear: Down Rose claims contestants were 'bullied and mistreated' at Tralee festival

By Sasha Brady

The Down Rose has slammed the Rose of Tralee festival, claiming the contestants were "treated like animals in a circus".

Fainche McCormack took to the Rose of Tralee's Facebook page to air her grievances with how she claims she was treated during the festival.

The Newry woman said that the Roses did “not sign up for a cheap reality television show in which our emotions would be manipulated for entertainment purposes”.

In the since-deleted post, the Down representative said that she had enjoyed herself for the most part of the 15-day festival.

 “The Rose of Tralee was honestly the most amazing experience of my life, until Sunday morning."

She added: "We did not sign up to be treated like animals in the circus and held in a room against our will.

“I could go on for days about the many ways we were manipulated, bullied and mistreated; However, up until a certain point, the Rose of Tralee was the experience of a lifetime, every part of a little girl’s dream.

“It’s just a shame that television viewing numbers became more important that the truly amazing girls that got hurt and that now have to deal with the emotional trauma of the whole, quite frankly disgusting and cruel, ordeal.

“None of us signed up for a cheap reality television show and now unfortunately the Rose of Tralee is an experience I will never forget, for all the wrong reasons,” she added.

Ms McCormack was referring to Sunday night's show in which the 65 hopefuls were whittled down to 33.

The girls were divided into two rooms - in one suite, lucky ladies were told that they would make it through to the final stage of the competiton. While at the same time in a room across the corridor, 33 less fortunate roses heard that their journey had come to an abrupt end.

The whole experience was captured on film by an RTÉ camera crew for the documentary 'Road to The Dome'.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the festival said: "The Road to The Dome was a new addition to the Rose of Tralee's television coverage this year.  It was commissioned by RTE and produced  in co-operation and agreement with the Rose of Tralee committee.  The 65 Roses were aware from the outset that they were being filmed at all stages in the run up to the live television shows. This also included the selection process where the 65 became 32 for the live televised programmes. 

"In advance of the show going out on Monday evening the festival were given the opportunity to to view the programme and were happy with it. We regret that the Down Rose Fainche McCormack was upset at elements of the filming process for the documentary and RTE and the Rose of Tralee Festival have agreed to review the process for next year."



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