independent

Thursday 23 October 2014

Ex-footballer's pub staged kids' beauty pageant

Esther Hayden

Published 02/10/2013 | 05:44

A man with strong links to Arklow is the owner of Corrigan's Kitchen in Castleblaney where the controversial child beauty pageant was held last week after a last minute change of venue.

A man with strong links to Arklow is the owner of Corrigan's Kitchen in Castleblaney where the controversial child beauty pageant was held last week after a last minute change of venue.

The pub in Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan is owned by Brian Laide who lived in the Arklow and Aughrim areas for a number of years.

Brian, a prominent county footballer in Wicklow also played for Avondale as well as playing rugby with Arklow. He served as managing director of timber firm, Wood Industries, in South Wicklow while his wife Honora was a teacher in the area.

Corrigan's Kitchen was the last minute venue for the controversial child beauty pageant after the sudden cancellation by the management of their first choice hotel, The Bracken Court in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin who said they had not been made aware of the true nature of the planned event.

The embarrassing cancellation and the backlash against such events saw the pageant thrown into jeopardy and pageant chiefs were forced to frantically secure another venue, something they only managed to do hours before the event.

However, the venue was kept secret until the last moment as organisers tried to avert another cancellation.

Speaking after Saturday's pageant, Universal Royalty boss Annette Hill admitted she made the decision to keep the alternative stage a secret out of fear the substitute venue would cancel on her again.

She also said management of the re-arranged venue at Brian Laide's Corrigan's Kitchen only finally gave the green light to the event once they had judged the performance of both Annette and others connected with the pageant on Friday night's Late Late Show.

But despite the difficulties she has incurred over the past week, she insisted she was pleased with the eventual outcome of the pageant.

She said there was a 'wonderful atmosphere' and that Universal Royalty's first-ever Irish show, which featured talent contests and modelling and beauty heats for youngsters, proved a huge hit. She also said she intended to be back in Ireland next year to stage up to four more competitions.

'I'm delighted I was able to hold a pageant in the end and it went absolutely fine. It took a bit of arranging, but it was a great success in the end.

'Unfortunately we lost about 20 of the participants. I only told them around midnight on Friday and asked the parents not to tell anyone where it was being staged. We wanted it to be a secret because of what happened at The Bracken Court.

'I said before I came over to Ireland that I wanted to make this an annual event and that's exactly what's going to happen. There's a huge demand for children's pageants in this country. It's third in the world, behind America and Australia and because of that I'm going to look into holding regional events here in the future in places like Cork, Galway, and Belfast, as well as Dublin. So my plan next year is to have between three and four pageants.'

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