The newly crowned Miss Ireland, Marie Hughes, has been stripped of her title after it emerged she was too old — at 25.
Miss Mayo Marie was declared the winner of the pageant on Saturday night, to much fanfare, but yesterday she was forced to hand over her crown to the runner-up, Rebecca Maguire, after it was revealed she was outside the strict age criteria for the event.
Marie will be 26 on her next birthday. The cut-off age from entering the beauty contest is 24.
Runner-up Rebecca Maguire, who is 20 and hails from Belfast, has now been awarded the title, and will represent Ireland at the Miss World pageant.
Ironically, Rebecca also came second in last year’s pageant, to Holly Carpenter.
Miss Ireland organiser Sean Montague said they had no option once it emerged that Marie had breached the rules. Her age had been listed as 21.
“Unfortunately, Ms Hughes did not meet the age criteria,” he said.
“It was with much regret that we had to inform her of our decision.
“We are all very fond of Marie and wish her all the best in the future.
“She is a beautiful girl and both inside and out and we have no doubt that she will have a great career ahead of herself.”
Neither Ms Maguire nor the deposed Ms Hughes could be reached for comment last night.
However, suspicions were raised on Saturday night after Marie was crowned Miss Ireland when she had refused to give any interviews either on the night or the next day.
A spokesperson said Marie was “too tired” to talk to the press.
The judges then decided on Sunday that she would be stripped of her title.
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