Sydney Rose says she was proud of abortion comments

Brianna Parkins claims the Rose of Tralee risks ‘being on the wrong side of history’

Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins during this year’s Rose of Tralee. Photograph: RTÉ

Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins during this year’s Rose of Tralee. Photograph: RTÉ


Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins has said the Rose of Tralee festival risks being on the “wrong side of the history” if it does not allow contestants to air their political opinions.

Ms Parkins (25) said her decision to raise the issue of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which governs abortion, live on stage in the Dome in Tralee amounted to a “couple of seconds of sweaty bravery” and she walked off the stage feeling proud of herself.

In an article for The Irish Times Weekend Review, Ms Parkins, a journalist in Australia, said female empowerment only amounted to platitudes if women were not allowed to speak up for themselves.

She confirmed abortion had been raised in discussions between the Roses off camera.

“Some talk about friends making the trip to Liverpool and the stress a late period brings about. Some worry it will be used as contraception. Others stress the church’s viewpoint. They’re friendly exchanges.”

Final selection

The women were divided in to two rooms – one room for those who got through to the live final, another for those who did not.

The outcome was broadcast in a documentary on RTÉ One on Monday evening.

“My bulls**t detector goes off and I surmise that this is not a documentary but reality TV,” she writes.

Rose of Tralee chief executive Anthony O’Gara reiterated yesterday that he was pleased Ms Parkins had expressed her viewpoint on stage, even though the festival is apolitical.

He admitted that none of the Roses were happy with how the selection procedure was handled.

Down Rose Fainche McCormack also criticised the organisation, saying she and the other Roses were “treated like animals in a circus”.