There will be no Waterford Rose in 2019 as a result of a major shake-up by the organisers of the International Rose of Tralee Festival.
The news comes just weeks after Waterford won the 2018 Rose of Tralee festival thanks to Kirsten Mate Maher.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival will celebrate 60 years in 2019 but Waterford will not have a representatives at any stage of the event and will therefore not feature in the TV final which will be broadcast from the Dome on RTÉ next August.
"In a new departure, to ensure that every Rose enjoys the ultimate positive experience during her year as her region’s ambassador, the Festival organisers have revamped the selection process by removing the regional qualification process," a statement read.
From 2019, each Centre would select a Rose bi-annually, such that 32 Roses will be hosted in Tralee annually to enjoy everything that Ireland’s flagship family festival has to offer – parades, gala functions, entertainment, televised Rose selection nights, a Rose Tour and much more.
Roses representing Kerry, Cork and Dublin will continue to be selected every year while a Rose will represent Waterford every second year from 2019. Waterford will next have a rose in 2020.
The Executive Chair of the Rose of Tralee International Festival, Anthony O’Gara, said: “Moving from the Regional Festival (staged from 2004 to 2015) to bringing all our Roses directly to the Rose of Tralee International Festival for the past three years has been generally very positively received. There is one challenging aspect to the new format that does not sit well with any of us and that we want to address, the selection of 32 Roses from 66 for the TV Selection. Regardless of how sensitively we handle that, it is not in-keeping with our ethos or our tradition. Our focus is to celebrate and respect the passion and emotion, and indeed the time and financial investment that every Rose, her family and Centre invest with us.”
"The Rose of Tralee family has grown extensively since 2004 with 40 new Centres and a rejuvenated brand. Rose Centres are at the core of the Festival. The commitment and passion from the Centre Coordinators have helped to make it the great event that it is, and help the organisers to achieve their mission to celebrate exceptional young Irish women, foster friendships and connect Irish communities."
“Our remit is to deliver a Festival that respects commitment and participation appropriately and that of each Rose. Even though the new structure will reduce income, we will find a means of overcoming this financial challenge for the International Festival."
"We appreciate that the change to the format is significant, but on balance we believe it will be a positive development that will enhance our Festival and protect its long-term future,” Anthony said.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival will celebrate 60 Years from Friday 16th to Tuesday 20th August 2019.