Past Leitrim Rose Erin Moran from Ballinamore.
The Rose of Tralee is to expand its qualifying criteria for contestants in a bid to make the festival more inclusive.
For the first time in its 62-year history, married women will be allowed to compete, and the age limit has been fractionally extended from 28 to 29. Under the rules a contestant cannot turn 30 before September 1, 2022.
Organisers have also clarified that anyone who identifies as female is welcome to participate.
Speaking this week, Mr O’Gara said organisers now felt it was time to clarify that trans women are encouraged to take part, and that the festival welcomes diversity.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, the organisers contacted different Rose Centres around the world and asked for feedback on how the festival could move with the times and become more inclusive.
It is hoped that the festival, which has been on hiatus for two years as a result of the pandemic, will go ahead next summer.
The Rose selections have been pushed back to April and May as a result of continued Covid-19 restrictions.
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