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Rose of Tralee: 'Organisers didn't know I was gay because they never asked'

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ose of Tralee Maria Walsh pictured at the Late Late Show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

ose of Tralee Maria Walsh pictured at the Late Late Show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

ose of Tralee Maria Walsh pictured at the Late Late Show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh (27) said she would have told organisers she was gay but the question never arose.

Ms Walsh said she had been openly gay for two years and her family and friends were well aware of it, but organisers never asked her.

In an interview on the Late Late Show this evening, she said nobody on the Rose of Tralee committee knew she was gay. "Nobody asked me whether I was a lesbian. I would have answered if I was asked. I wasn't expecting to win. So to me, it was never going to be an issue. 

"I was asked whether I was single, whether I had a boyfriend and the answer was no," she said. "I wasn't asked whether I was a lesbian.

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Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh with her parentsVincent and Noreen, sister Eileen and brother Mikey  pictured at the Late Late Show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh with her parentsVincent and Noreen, sister Eileen and brother Mikey pictured at the Late Late Show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh with her parentsVincent and Noreen, sister Eileen and brother Mikey pictured at the Late Late Show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

“I’ve been openly gay for two years, my family and my friends know it and they support it. It came after the fact to the Rose of the Tralee committee and they welcomed it even more. It is a part of my identity, ” said Ms Walsh.

"I am a very transparent person and I have nothing to hide."

Host Ryan Tubridy asked Ms Walsh whether she considered revealing whether she was gay on stage.

"No, not at all. If it [the conversation] was going that way, I would have openly said it but it didn't."

Ms Walsh said she would she be delighted if during her reign she can help even one young person deal with coming out as gay.

Ms Walsh said she caused a “little bit of scandal,” after her sexuality was revealed.

The Philadelphia Rose then said, “but on a Sunday what else is there to do except come out?”

She is now keen to help other young people deal with the challenges of coming out about their sexuality.

“If I could even help one person come out and deal with it in a positive way and have positive reinforcement around that, then my year as a Rose of Tralee has already been completed,” she told Ryan Tubridy.

She said that her former partner accompanied her at the Rose of Tralee. "Obviously when you spend two years with someone, you're going to be very good friends with them and I was delighted

Online Editors