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Emma hits back at 'appalling' racist bullies

MISS Ireland Emma Waldron has opened up about the "appalling" racist bullying that she and her boyfriend have endured.

The Celbridge beauty (21), who came fourth in Miss World, found herself at the centre of a racism row when an online tormentor branded her "disgusting" for being in a relationship with a black man.

But the former primary school teacher, who has been with her other half Manners Oshafi for more than a year, opened up about her upset at the internet bully.

Emma explained her shock at the attack, and encouraged Irish people to become more open minded, describing her relationship with her boyfriend as "beautiful".

Speaking exclusively to the Herald, she said: "I don't wish to talk in too much length about the issue as there are feelings involved and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by making an issue out of this.

"There is only one race, the human race. What matters in friendship and love is the heart and soul of the person you have a relationship with, not their colour, nationality, creed or background.

"I love my boyfriend with every cell in my body and nothing anyone says will change that.

"It upsets me that people have negative things to say about a love and friendship that is so beautiful.

"I love my boyfriend and nothing like this will ever affect us because we have love and that's all we need. We don't need others approval."

The eloquent beauty queen encouraged Irish people to become more accepting, and said that the couple are putting the incident behind them.

"To condemn a relationship or person based on race is appalling," she added.

"We saw the devastating effects of racial hatred when Toyosi was murdered last year.

"I think we as a nation need to embrace all the colours of our country and realise Ireland is a country rich in races, ethnicities and cultures.

"Many of the football teams we support have players... the musicians we sing and dance to and the actors and actresses we admire have different skin colours. That's all it is, A different skin colour."

Meanwhile, the couple's relationship is going from strength to strength in recent weeks, and they even bought a puppy.

But the pooch will live at her boyfriend's Dublin home as Emma and Manners are not ready to live together just yet.

"He's going to stay with Manners for the moment because he has little brothers who love playing with him," she said.

cmcbride@herald.ie