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‘There can be no change without a voice’: Miss Limerick resigns from Miss Ireland competition

The director of the Miss Limerick competition also spoke publically of how he resigned from his role after he says he was ordered by the Miss Ireland organisers to strip a Limerick teenager of her title.


by Jennifer McShane
23rd Feb 2021

Photo: @kyla_mcgowan_

‘There can be no change without a voice’: Miss Limerick resigns from Miss Ireland competition

Nineteen-year-old Kyla McGowan, who was crowned Miss Limerick 2020, withdrew from the Miss Ireland competition after she was asked to do hand over her title by the national competition organisers.

McGowan spoke about how she objected to the monetisation of voting as she felt it put girls with wealthy families at a greater advantage of progression.

“I never have and never will be the type of person to sit down quiet and accept something I’m not happy with. There can be no change without a voice to back it. My whole goal was to infiltrate the system to break the system as I’m sure many of titleholders before me tried to do as well. I hope you can all respect my decision to stand up for what I feel is truly right,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I do not think a crown should be bought by selling votes online to whoever has the richest family. That is not how a Miss Ireland and future Miss World contestant should be decided.”

A voice for women 

“I entered the competition to be a voice for women, not to be silenced. The women of Ireland have been silenced for too long and we won’t stand for it anymore,” the law student continued.

She was asked to leave the Miss Ireland competition indirectly as Patrick McLoughney, the former director of the Miss Limerick competition then explained on his Instagram page.

“I refused to strip Kyla of her title and resigned from the organisation,” he wrote on his Instagram account.

He then resigned from the role, with McGowen withdrawing from the contest, adding that Miss Limerick was overall, a very positive experience but that she would not be able to continue in her role.

“If this is something that the Miss Ireland organisation want, then I will respectfully hand it over. I would just like to say that this further reinstates the belief that you cannot stick up for yourself and other women under the current management. I really do hope things change soon.”

Outdated rules

These events came as another contestant, Blue Scannell from Dublin, quit the competition over a ruling which stated you cannot enter Miss Ireland if you have given birth.

The Miss Dublin contestant left after she raised concerns over “bizarre” and “outdated” rules that require contestants to have never been married or have children.

“In the reply, they asked me if I would be happy enough to keep going with something that I didn’t believe in and to let them know by 5pm whether I was still in the competition or not,” she told RTE’s Liveline.

She explained helping to deliver babies in the second year of her midwifery course prompted her decision to question the rules and ultimately pull out of the competition.

“I would mention that there are pageants, such as Mrs World, that do not have this rule but unfortunately Miss Ireland [are] affiliated with the one that do,” McLoughney added. “Miss Ireland are governed by the rules of Miss World who stipulate that contestants must not have given birth to a child.”

“I do not want to be part of a competition which discriminates against some women or forces women to leave the competition should they raise a valid question about a rule,” continued McGowen.  “The response @bluescannell received was not something I am happy to stand behind and be a representative of.”