Call for Ireland to follow French ban on child beauty pageants

A call has been made in the Seanad for the Houses of the Oireachtas to support a ban in Ireland on child beauty pageants.

Jillian van Turnhout said in the wake of the decision by the French state to ban such pageants she would be contacting the French senate to ask for details of its ban and how it was put in place.

Ms van Turnhout said she would introduce an initiative on the issue and appealed for the support of the Seanad and Oireachtas of such a ban because of the early sexualisation of children.

The Independent senator highlighted the pageant held last weekend in a bar in Co Monaghan. She said the hotel in Dublin where it was scheduled to take place cancelled the booking and no other hotel in Ireland would take the event, which she said she was delighted about.

“Eventually, it was a rushed event in a bar in Co Monaghan. I thank all of the parents who got behind my call and the hotels that stood firm, for which I thank them, as I realise they are commercial ventures.”

Ms van Turnhout warned however that the organisers of the child beauty pageants said “they will be back next year and organise events regionally. This is about the early sexualisation of children, to which I am very much opposed.

“I ask the leader and my colleagues in the House to join me in opposing this initiative. This is above party politics and we can work together on the issue. I will shortly bring forward an initiative, but I hope it will be a joint initiative on behalf of Members of the House.”

Seanad leader Maurice Cummins welcomed the French ban and complimented Ms van Turnhout for highlighting the issue.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is a parliamentary reporter with The Irish Times