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Toddlers and tiaras pageant returns

ORGANISERS of a contentious 'Toddlers and tiaras'-style child pageant will host a second event in Ireland next month, despite the chaotic scenes at the debut show.

Texas-based Universal Royalty suffered an unprecedented backlash and even struggled to find a venue for their first-ever Irish contest last September.

Company boss Annette Hill was forced to cancel her first-choice venue and host it at a top-secret location.

But she said that the mayhem that surrounded last summer's competition has not put her off returning to Ireland.

And yesterday, Ms Hill announced that a Christmas-themed pageant, again open to babies and toddlers, will take place on December 14.

She revealed that she has been approached by six hotel bosses in the past two months to stage the event.

And although the venue's identity is likely to be kept under wraps for as long as possible, Ms Hill said she was hoping to stage it in Cork this time round.

"A lot of crazy stuff happened when I was last over, things which I've never experienced in my 18 years in this business," she said.

"I'm still shocked at what took place and how the media treated us. It drove me completely nuts. But it hasn't put me off. In fact, it's made me want to return even more."



Ms Hill said that she is in talks with a few hotels, but has almost decided on a location and has big plans for the future.

"The likely venue at this stage is Cork, and it's going to be a Christmas-themed pageant," she said.

"And I'll definitely be back over next year too. We're already thinking about staging a big pageant in Ireland next September again."

Last September, plans by Universal Royalty to stage their debut pageant were thrown into turmoil just days before the event, when bosses of their first-choice hotel, The Bracken Court in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, suddenly pulled the plug on the contest.

In the end, just 30 of the 50 youngsters who had been booked to participate, took part in a contest at a function room in Corrigan's Kitchen,in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan.