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Co Down Rose slams treatment during Rose of Tralee

The 57th Rose of Tralee winner was Chicago Rose Maggie McEldowney Photo: Twitter/Rose of Tralee

The 2016 Co Down Rose of Tralee hopeful has slammed the treatment of contestants during filming for a behind-the scenes programme as “intrusive” and “inappropriate”.

In comments posted on Facebook – which have since been deleted - Fainche McCormack said that she “did not sign up for a cheap reality television show”.

She wrote on the official Rose of Tralee page that the contestants had their emotions “manipulated for entertainment purposes” and that they did not expect to be “treated like animals in the circus and held in a room against our will”.

Detailing filming for the ‘Road to The Dome’ programme, the Co Down Rose added: “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?

“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 than 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.

– Co Down Rose Fainche McCormack

A spokesperson from the Rose of Tralee responded to Fainche McCormack’s comments, saying: “The Road to The Dome was a new addition to the Rose of Tralee's television coverage this year.

“The 65 Roses were aware from the outset that they were being filmed at all stages in the run-up to the live television shows.

“This also included the selection process where the 65 became 32 for the live televised programmes.

“In advance of the show going out on Monday evening, the festival were given the opportunity to view the programme and were happy with it.”

The spokesperson added: “We regret that the Down Rose Fainche McCormack was upset at elements of the filming process for the documentary, and RTÉ and the Rose of Tralee Festival have agreed to review the process for next year.”

The winner of the 57th Rose of Tralee International Festival was Chicago Rose Maggie McEldowney.