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Dustin refuses to pull Out of Eurosong contest

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Dustin the Turkey will not be throwing in the towel, despite a backlash over his Eurovision bid.

Dustin the Turkey will not be throwing in the towel, despite a backlash over his Eurovision bid.

Dustin the Turkey will not be throwing in the towel, despite a backlash over his Eurovision bid.

DUSTIN the Turkey seriously considered pulling out of the Eurosong contest yesterday as controversy erupted over his selection as one of the six Irish finalists .

After hearing nearly 45 minutes of angry radio debate about the fact that the celebrity puppet had made the grade, Dustin thought about throwing in the towel for "nearly a full second", he confirmed last night.

But the bookies' favourite has decided to battle on.

"I am doing this for Ireland," he said.

Three of the country's top music men, songwriter Phil Coulter, Frank McNamara and Eurovision veteran Shay Healy, all criticised the decision by an RTE committee to select the popular bird as one of the six finalists for Ireland's entry.

Speaking on RTE's 'Liveline', Mr McNamara questioned whether RTE were "giving two fingers" to the country's song-writers.

"I think it is absolutely disgraceful," Mr McNamara said.

However, Mr McNamara conceded that, because the winner will be selected by tele poll, the turkey would probably represent Ireland in Serbia.

Shay Healy, who wrote Johnny Logan's winning song 'What's Another Year?', wondered "how any bunch of grown-ups could manage to come up with this as a solution". But he too believed that Dustin had the best chance of the six finalists.

Song-writer Phil Coulter said the Eurosong competition had "gone down the tubes" and we were faced with either following the trend of ensuring the hairdresser was more important than the song-writer, or deciding to stand by quality.

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Bill Hughes, chairman of the RTE committee which chose the finalists, stressed that no one had yet heard any of the entries. He insisted that Dustin's song was "very funny" and had a "great melody". He said it also included a "strong female vocal".

Last night Dustin issued a statement in which he offered to extend the "wing of friendship to former 'Late Late Show' music director and Progressive Democrat, eh, candidate, Frank McNamara".

The popular turkey also offered Frank the role of spokesperson for European affairs for the front bench of his party, Fianna Fowl.

"As everyone knows, I'm not a turkey that holds grudges, so I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Frank for his comments. I feel in the new Ireland we need to have platforms like 'Liveline' where mature, sensible and open debate can be held over the key issues of the day.

"Today's 'Liveline' was a perfect example of such debate," he said.

The decision on the song will be made at a show in University Concert Hall, Limerick, on Saturday, February 23, to be broadcast from 7pm to 8pm that evening.

Voting lines will open (phone and text) only after all six acts have performed.

The public will then decide which song will represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest on May 20. The winner will be announced in a live results show at 9.30pm.


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