Nowadays, if you are against open-door immigration, you are considered a 'racist', if you oppose gay marriage, you are a 'homophobe', if you oppose abortion, you wish to 'oppress' women and deserve to be expelled from polite society and 'no-platformed' at universities!
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is based on the love song "The Rose of Tralee", by William Mulchinock a 19th century wealthy merchant who was in love with Mary O'Connor, his maid. Since 1959 the Festival has grown, incorporating centres from all over the world and is firmly established on everyone's events calendar. TV live coverage of the Rose selection has helped install the Festival in the national psyche with over a million people tuning in. This year's Rose of Tralee is the Canadian 'Rose'.
Entrants are interviewed on aspects of their lives. This year the Sydney 'Rose', Brianna Parkins, was allowed to say during the interview: “I think we can do better here in Ireland. I think it is time to give women a say on their own reproductive rights. I would love to see a referendum on the eighth coming up soon. That would be my dream.”
This is in reference to an ongoing debate in Ireland about the repeal of the 8th amendent to our Constitution which guarantees the “right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Pro-choice campaigners believe the wording means abortion rights in Ireland are too restricted; anti-abortion campaigners want it to remain the same.
The Rose of Tralee festival describes itself as apolitical and does not encourage political statements.