Dublin hotel cancels booking for child beauty pageant
Organisers insist contest will go ahead despite senator saying it ‘sexually exploits’ children
Independent senator and children’s rights activist Jillian Van Turnhout earlier claimed the contest should be cancelled as events like it ‘sexually exploit’ children at a young age.
The organisers of a child beauty pageant scheduled to take place in Dublin this weekend have insisted it will go ahead despite the hotel at which it was due to take place cancelling the booking.
The pageant, organised by US company Universal Royalty, was to take place on Saturday at the four-star Bracken Court hotel in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.
A statement released by the hotel said Universal Royalty “did not identify the true nature of the event” which was “not in keeping” with the family ethos of the business.
Cork-born Stephanie Murphy, who is involved in organising the event, was critical of the hotel’s decision to pull out. “I can’t honestly believe they weren’t aware of the nature of the pageant,” she said.
“There’s been so much in the media about it that they must have known exactly what was going in, but I can assure everyone the pageant will still take place.” She added she would not be revealing the venue but said it would take place within the capital.
Independent senator and children’s rights activist Jillian Van Turnhout earlier claimed the contest should be cancelled as events like it “sexually exploit” children at a young age.
She also claimed other hotels had rejected bookings for the event and said they should be commended for doing so.
“This kind of contest has no place in Ireland, ” she said. “It’s simply the early sexual exploitation of children. We’re about the protecting of childhood and beauty pageants like this are not synonymous with that.”
Annette Hill of Universal Royalty defended the event. “I do think the pageant is being vilified,” she said. “Have faith in the parents of Ireland. They’re not going to let their children come into harm’s way. I couldn’t care less about what anyone but the parents and contestants think.”
Ms Hill said she couldn’t verify how many children were due to take part in the contest, but she claimed she had been forced to turn down many applications.