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Rose of Tralee contestant claims Roses were ‘bullied and mistreated’ behind the scenes

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Fainche McCormack has spoken out against how the contestants in the Rose of Tralee festival were treated.

The Down Rose competed in this year’s festival and penned a statement on what happened behind the scenes of the famed competition, based in Tralee Co. Kerry.

“The Rose of Tralee was honestly the most amazing experience of my life, until Sunday morning,” she wrote.

Down Rose - Fainche McCormack

Cheap Reality TV: The Rose felt manipulated by the competition

The contestant revealed that the cameras followed the girls around all week, asked inappropriate questions and manipulated their emotions.

“I, and my fellow rose sisters, did not sign up for a cheap reality television show in which our emotions would be manipulated for entertainment purposes, nor did we sign up to be treated like animals in the circus and held in a room against our will,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

“Cameras intrusively followed us all week and asked inappropriate probing questions; asking one girl what colour underwear she was wearing right before she went on stage, what’s acceptable about that?”

Rose of Tralee 9

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The Newry native admitted that she had a great time being a Rose but was disappointed that the competition focused on viewing numbers rather than the experience.

“I could go on for days about the many ways we were manipulated, bullied and mistreated; However, up until a certain point, the Rose of Tralee was the experience of a lifetime, every part of a little girl’s dream.

“It’s just a shame that television viewing numbers became more important that the truly amazing girls that got hurt and that now have to deal with the emotional trauma of the whole, quite frankly disgusting and cruel, ordeal.

“None of us signed up for a cheap reality television show and now unfortunately the Rose of Tralee is an experience I will never forget, for all the wrong reasons,” she added.