TOO OLD Máire Hughes cannot represent Ireland in Miss World as she will be 26 when the competition takes place later this year.
Miss Mayo claims Miss Ireland organisers were aware of her age
Winner deemed too old at 25
MAYO does not seem to have much luck when it comes to winning All-Ireland titles on the football pitch and the same applied to an All-Ireland beauty title last week when Mayo’s representative was stripped of her All-Ireland title amid claims and counter-claims shrouded in controversy.
Last week, The Mayo News reported that Máire Hughes had followed up her win in the Miss Mayo competition in Breaffy House Hotel, Castlebar on April 21 by claiming the prestigious Miss Ireland crown at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin on April 28.
Ms Hughes, who was born in Canada but moved back with her parents to live in Knocknacarra in Galway when aged 9, is a part-time model who works in Born clothing store in Galway city. She was asked to compete in the Miss Mayo competition by her agent at short notice and was delighted, but surprised to have won the competition.
Her age was not even mentioned after her victory in Breaffy House but it suddenly became an issue when Ms Hughes received e-mails from the organisers on Thursday, April 25, four days before the Miss Ireland final in Dublin. The e-mails contained the rules of eligibility for the Miss Ireland competition.
“I did notice that there was an age requirement and I made an enquiry with Miss Ireland representatives. In the course of the telephone conversation I was advised by one of the representatives that this was not a significant issue and that she would deal with it and I should present my age to be younger than what it was,” Ms Hughes said in a statement last week.
However, the organisers of the pageant have denied that this was the case and sought to clear up matters with their own statement last week.
“Máire Hughes, who won the title of Miss Mayo in Castlebar on Saturday, April 21, had a meeting with Miss Ireland organisers after the event on Sunday, April 29 to outline her duties and responsibilities as Miss Ireland. At the meeting it transpired that Ms Hughes was 25 on her last birthday but would be 26 going to Inner Mongolia to represent Ireland. Miss Ireland organisers immediately contacted Miss World officials to clarify the rules regarding the age of entrants and unfortunately Ms Hughes does not meet the age criteria. It was with much regret that Miss Ireland organisers informed Ms Hughes of the decision.”
The whole scenario has thrust Ms Hughes into the spotlight over the last week. Her pictured appeared on the front pages of both broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, and she was also a guest on The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ.
She was due to be replaced at the Miss World competition by the first runner-up Rebecca Maguire, from Belfast, but there are now doubts about Ms Maguire’s participation due to the fact she had a tattoo of a cross and chain on her ankle. It has been reported that according to the rules of the Miss Word pageant, tattoos are not allowed. Maybe Mayo will have more luck in Croke Park in September.
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