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"You let me down" - Sydney Rose lifts lid on festival reaction to her abortion remarks

Brianna Parkins called for a referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

The Sydney Rose during her TV interview.
The Sydney Rose during her TV interview.
Image: RTÉ

SYDNEY ROSE BRIANNA Parkins says she was told by the Rose of Tralee media manager that she had “let him down” after she called for a referendum on Ireland’s abortion laws.

In a report written for The Irish Times, the Australian journalist described her call for a vote on the Eighth Amendment as “a couple of seconds of sweaty bravery”.

“I walk off stage proud of myself,” she said.

Parkins said that the day following her live interview with Daithí O’Shea some of the other roses admired her “guts and stupidity”.

That day, she also describes how the makers of the pageant reacted to her call:

I get pulled into a room with the media manager, who tells me I’ve “let him down”. I tell him I feel the same way about having been exposed to the TV crew. He listens to me respectfully and tells me he won’t gag me or punish me. I’m surprised but grateful.

Parkins also addressed the controversial selection process where 65 roses were reduced to 32 the day before the live shows.

Both sets of roses were told of their fate in separate rooms and their reactions were filmed for a documentary. Parkins said that she confronted the producers of the show about this.

“I round on the documentary team and a festival co-ordinator and explain that set-up shots in documentary cross ethical boundaries. He assures me, again, that this is how TV works. I tell him that I work in the sector, and it doesn’t work like this,” she writes.

In her article, Parkins also says that at some points their phones were taken away from them and they were told to stay in their rooms.

She is also critical of how the roses are treated throughout the festival, describing it as “a great big Kate Middleton impersonation contest”.

Read: One of the Roses has accused the festival of ‘manipulating and bullying’ contestants >

Read: Petition set up to ‘formally compliment’ Sydney Rose for abortion comments >

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Rónán Duffy

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