The Miss Ireland competition has come under fire from contestants and former winners who have blasted the rules banning mothers from entering.
Blue Scannell, 19, who was waiting to find out if she would represent Dublin in the Miss Ireland competition, took to Instagram to explain she had decided to withdraw because of the contest’s ‘outdated’ restrictions – including rules that state entrants should have never been married or had children.
She has since racked up almost 2,000 signatures on a petition in just two days arguing that Miss World, which sets the guidelines, should allow the competition to be inclusive of all women.
Blue applied for the Miss Ireland competition back in September and had been competing as a Dublin entrant since October last year before withdrawing just weeks before finding out if she would represent Dublin.
Meanwhile the current Miss Ireland Chelsea Farrell has cut ties with their organisation over the controversy, while former Miss Limerick Kyla McGowan, 19, had her title stripped after she backed the petition and criticised the rules.
MailOnline has contacted Miss Ireland for comment.
Blue Scannell, 19, (pictured) who is a finalist for Miss Dublin, has blasted the Miss Ireland pageant for insisting on the rules put in place by the Miss World competition
Chelsea Farrell (pictured left) who is the current Miss Ireland, has shown support for Blue’s petition and appears to have cut ties with the organisation
The online petition was set up last week after Blue, who is training to be a midwife, emailed Miss Ireland explaining their rules forbidding women who’ve given birth were concerning her.
The organisation responded by arguing she had various opportunities to raise concerns before progressing through the selection stages for Miss Dublin.
She had entered the competition back in September last year, before the final deadline of September 27, and had been competing as a Dublin contestant since October.
Blue’s Instagram post and petition came just weeks before she was set to find out whether she would represent Dublin in the Miss Ireland final, before potentially representing Ireland at Miss World this year.
They continued to give her an ultimatum to decide if she wanted to withdraw from the running from the Miss Ireland contest completely.
Blue confessed she was surprised by the organisation’s response and posted on her Instagram story saying: ‘I know girls out there who have babies or who have given birth and they are so inspirational.
Kyla (pictured) who is the current Miss Limerick, has given up her title after being blasted for supporting Blue’s petition
‘They’re no different from me just because they have a baby and I thought Miss Ireland would see that as well. But they don’t and they basically asked me to leave.
‘It feels like they’ve said if I don’t agree, and it’s something that I feel this way about, then how could you really go ahead in a competition that you don’t agree with.’
Visibly emotional, she continued: ‘So it feels like I’ve been asked to leave rather than for change to happen. I will leave, but for other girls who want to do it who have children or have been through a birth.
‘I don’t have a baby, it doesn’t affect me personally but I just think it’s wrong and that’s why I spoke up about it. But it looks like it’s not going to change. I won’t be going ahead in the competition.
‘The last thing I want to do is come on and bash the organisation. They do amazing work and raise so much awareness for important topics.’
Blue posted her correspondence with Miss Ireland on Instagram, revealing the organisation have argued she could’ve voiced concerns sooner
Blue’s honesty has received a stream of praise from former winners and fellow contestants alike.
According to Her, the current Miss Ireland Chelsea has cut ties with the organisation over the ruling.
MISS WORLD FACES CONTROVERSY OVER ‘OUTDATED’ ENTRY CRITERIA
Beauty queen Veronika Didusenko, 24, launched legal action against the UK-based Miss World contest in 2019 because she was banned from taking part for being a mother.
Veronika, 24, was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018 but was stripped of her title four days later after it was revealed she was divorced and had a son called Alex. She was also banned from entering the Miss World finals.
In November last year, she launched legal action in London claiming organisers are in breach of the Equalities Act 2010 and demanded they change their ‘outdated’ entry criteria to reflect the modern world.
Miss Didusenko previously accused organisers of discrimination and leaving her ‘publicly humiliated’.
At the time, the international model admitted wrongly declaring she fit the criteria but claims Miss Ukraine chiefs asked her take part because of her high profile.
She has since set up a petition, which has racked up more than 23,000 signatures, for Miss World and Miss Universe to allow mothers to compete.
Meanwhile Kyla McGowan, 19, who was awarded the Miss Limerick title, penned a lengthy Instagram post showing support for Blue’s concerns about the pageant discriminating against groups of women.
She captioned the post: ‘While I do whole heartedly understand that the rules of eligibility are out of Miss Ireland’s control and I was aware of them (that doesn’t mean I agreed with them) at the time, the response @bluescannell received was not something I am happy to stand behind and be a representative of.’
She continued: ‘I never have and never will be the type of person to sit down quiet and accept something I’m not happy with it. There can be no change without a voice to back it.
In a follow-up post, Kyla revealed she had been asked to ‘have her title and crown stripped’, saying: ‘I will not be Miss Limerick anymore. If this is something that the Miss Ireland organisation want, then I will respectfully hand it over.
‘I would just like to say that this further reinstates the belief that you cannot stick up for yourself and other women under the current management. I really do hope things change soon.
‘It was my intention that I could keep my title for the year but just not enter the final. I am sorry that this, unfortunately, is not the case.
‘There is not many people who would forfeit their role because they believed in someone but that is exactly what @iammcloughney has done. Truly a man of his word I cannot thank you enough for your support.’
Other social media users have rallied around both beauty queens, with one person commenting: ‘Well done Blue! What you are doing is just amazing. Being a mam at 21 is one of my greatest achievements in life. I am appalled this is something we need to fight at this day and age! You’ve gotten the conversation started and that’s amazing’
‘Fair play to you Blue! About time someone spoke out against such a bizarre ‘rule’. Means a lot to all us mammys,’ another said.
Veronika Didusenko was crowned Miss Ukraine in 2018 (pictured right with Alexandra Kucherenko) but was stripped of her title as she was divorced and had a son called Alex
Kyla penned a lengthy post on Instagram explaining it was her childhood dream to compete in the Miss Ireland competition
A third added: ‘1000 per cent agree with this, women feel down after giving birth as it is our bellies have stretch are bellies have scars, we should be allowed to preach and spread the look of a woman’s body!’
However according to Extra.ie, contestants have received streams of abuse for continuing to compete in the pageant.
Miss Dublin finalist Katie Cooley explained: ‘I have a very thick skin, I can take it. But I know a lot of girls who have been dropping out because people are putting pressure on them, saying that they should rethink their life. It’s just inappropriate.
‘If you want to put your energy into something, sign Blue’s petition or email Miss World, don’t be sending me or any other contestants messages.’
A stream of Blue’s Instagram followers have voiced support for the petition, with many agreeing women shouldn’t be disqualified from entering because they have a child