Belfast Telegraph

Rose of Tralee security scare after protester storms stage

By PA Reporter

Organisers of Ireland's Rose of Tralee contest have defended security measures after a lone protester stormed the stage during a live television broadcast.

Young women from all around the world compete every year to win the coveted title, taken from a song about the "lovely and fair" Rose of Tralee.

As the Cavan Rose was being interviewed on Monday night, a man jumped on stage and interrupted the show.

He was later identified as Matt O'Connor (49), who lives in London but whose family come from Co Kerry, where the annual pageant is held.

Dressed as a priest, Mr O'Connor shouted "Fathers for justice" and urged support for all fathers denied access to their children.

State broadcaster RTE cut to advertisements until the demonstrator was removed from the arena - known as The Dome - before presenter Daithi O Se resumed his interview with the contestant.

In a statement organisers said they "are satisfied that adequate security measures are in place in the Festival Dome".

"A man in the audience walked on to the stage while the Cavan Rose was being interviewed by Daithi O Se," the statement said.

"The man, who had purchased a ticket, was immediately removed from the stage by security personnel before being taken away by gardai.

"The show resumed after a short break."

The interruption helped the broadcast trend on social media.

In night two of the contest last night, Chicago Rose Maggie McEldowney was crowned Rose of Tralee.

A Fathers4Justice protester dressed as a priest storms the stage (top) as Cavan Rose Lisa Reilly is interviewed in Tralee, before being removed by security men Frank McGrath

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph