CATTY KRISH GETS UGLY IN BATTLE OF THE BEAUTIES; NIAMH 'GAVE UP' AT MISS WORLD SAYS EX-BOSS.
His surprise intervention came as Niamh, who holds the title, came face to face with Kieran Murray for the first time since he decided to replace her two weeks ago.
The current Miss Ireland boss chose Miss Limerick, Fiona Mulally, to represent her country at next month's pageant in Miami.
Last night the Limerick tycoon denied that he was having an affair with Fiona, who came third in the Miss Ireland contest.
The reclusive businessman said: "I simply want the best contestant to win and Fiona Mulally has the best potential. That's the reason I picked her ahead of Niamh and runner-up Michelle Murphy (Miss Antrim)."
Sparks flew when Niamh and her family clashed with Murray at Dublin's plush Burlington Hotel. at the launch of this year's ontest.
But Naidoo, who handed Miss Ireland over to Murray last year, sprang to the businessman's defence.
Krish, who ran the pageant for 17 years, said: "Niamh threw in the towel in India during the Miss World contest."
His angry wife Lelia railed: "Niamh gave up completely. I kept having to tell her to put her make-up on."
But a composed Niamh, who was surrounded by family and friends, hit back, saying: "I was really upset after I saw a protester set fire to himself outside the hotel in Bangalore." Niamh's family, and her model agency boss, tackled Murray and Naidoo in a heated exchange.
Her dad, Ron, who travelled to Bangalore with the 19-year-old Drimnagh beauty, detailed the family's horrific trauma there.
He said Niamh was kept under 24-hour armed guard and not allowed to leave her hotel room.
But an unrepentant Murray defended his decision to ditch Niamh for the Miss Universe contest.
When tackled about Niamh's claims that she has not been paid her pounds 100 a month Miss Ireland wages since December, a harassed looking Murray said he himself was waiting for his 20 per cent of her earnings, as detailed in their contract. But an exasperated Niamh said that she had only received one modelling job from the Miss Ireland office since starting her reign in August.
The rest of her work since then had come from the Assets model agency.
She signed up with the Dublin agency a year before the Miss Ireland pageant.
Assets boss Mags Humphries said: "I've gotten Niamh all her work since she won the contest."
And Niamh added: "Assets have given me all my jobs. Without them, no- one would know who I was."
The beauty queen postponed sitting her final accountancy exams at Maynooth College because she believed she would be going to Miami next month.
She said: "I could have done the exams and been finished this summer, but instead I now have to do an extra year." She also revealed that earlier this week Kieran Murray offered her a trip to the Miss Europe contest in the Ukraine in September - which she described as a consolation prize.
Niamh said: "I won't be taking it up because my reign as Miss Ireland will be over in August. I'll leave that trip to the next Miss Ireland, who is entitled to it."
Before being whisked away by his minders, Kieran Murray said: "Why wouldn't I be the most unpopular man in Ireland at the moment. I'm embarrassed by all the publicity, but I don't feel I've made an error of judgment."
Fiona Mulally, who arrived shortly after the row, said: "I don't intend to replace Niamh, but it's the opportunity of a lifetime.
"I'm certainly not having a personal relationship with Kieran Murray. He asked me last December about representing Ireland in one of the contests, but he didn't say it was Miss Universe.
"I'll be wearing a sash saying 'Ireland', but I'm not Miss Ireland."
She added: "This is the first time I've seen or spoken to Niamh since the decision.
"I feel sorry for her because I know she has been preparing for it for a long time."
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Apr 17, 1997|
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