Liveline devotes 40 minutes to Donegal man's beauty competition

The Donegal co-ordinator of the controversial Face of Ireland beauty competition says the finals will go ahead as scheduled at the end of the month, despite strong criticism of the organising of the event aired on RTE Radio One.

Brian Cunningham who works at the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, has declined to comment on a number of issues discussed in a 40-minute segment of Friday's edition of Joe Duffy's Liveline programme.

During the programme the Donegal man was repeatedly asked to explain why contestants had to pay €1,000 to compete in the contest and several callers contacted the show to disassociate themselves or those they represented from the contest.

Mr Cunningham told Liveline the terms and conditions for entrants were explained on the competition website.

Face of Ireland, is described as Ireland's next diverse beauty competition. According to the competition's website, the 'mega model hunt' is being held to identify the fresh new face of Ireland that embodies the values of modern Irish culture.

However, Mr. Cunningham and the Face of Ireland competition came in for sustained criticism on the RTE show, with some callers particularly critical of the €1,000 charge placed on contestants who reach the final.

Brian Cunningham was on the programme for almost 40 minutes and insisted that the terms and conditions of the competition were fully outlined on the Face of Ireland website.

When contacted yesterday, he said he had been advised by his solicitors not to comment on any aspect of the programme. However, he did say he didn't regret going on the Joe Duffy show.

"I went on air to try and clear things up in relation to the competition but I wasn't given the opportunity to do so," he said. "I wasn't given the opportunity to speak without disruption, without another angle and another twist being put on it."

The county finals of the Face of Ireland competition have been held all over the country in recent weeks and the overall final will take place over the last weekend in November in Wexford.

Despite strong criticism of the competition on RTE, Mr. Cunningham said the finals are still going ahead as scheduled and those girls wishing to enter the finals had up until yesterday to register their details.

The Donegal finals took place in the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town in October and the winner was Donna Meehan (18) from Pettigo.

Up until yesterday lunchtime, around 28 girls had registered to take part in the finals - a figure which according to Brian Cunningham, is considerably lower than initially expected.

Referring to the impact of Friday's Joe Duffy programme, he said the finals had been "considerably damaged." "We would have been hoping for more than that," he said.


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