Republic of Ireland news

Gardaí probe alleged verbal racist assault against new Rose of Tralee

Kirsten Mate Maher, the newly-crowned Rose of Tralee
Marie Louise McConville

GARDAÍ are investigating an alleged racist verbal attack on the newly-crowned Rose of Tralee.

It was reported that Garda officers were called to a fast food outlet in Kilkenny around 3am on Sunday where Kirsten Mate Maher and her boyfriend were.

It was alleged two men in the premises verbally abused Ms Maher, who was crowned Rose of Tralee last week.

Ms Maher is thought to have been socialising with her boyfriend and other friends and had stopped at the fast food restaurant on her way home.

One man was reported to have racially abused Ms Maher – who is half-Zambian and the first African-Irish woman to win the Rose of Tralee – before her boyfriend asked him to stop.

It's understood the second man then became involved and gardaí were called.

Steve Cronly, from the Rose of Tralee festival committee, said: "Regrettably, Kirsten has been subjected to racial abuse from people in the past and it is something that she and many others in Ireland have to deal with on a regular basis.

"As the Rose of Tralee, Kirsten intends to highlight the fact that society in Ireland is becoming more diverse and that there is no place for racism."

A Garda spokesman said they were "aware of an alleged incident that occurred in a fast food restaurant on John Street, Kilkenny" and enquiries were "ongoing".

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