Ballyliffin woman Layla Doherty is proudly representing Ireland and Donegal in the Miss Earth world final.
This year’s final is in Vietnam, and Layla is already flying the flag for Ireland as she takes part in pageant events.
The grand final will be held on 22nd December. Before then, Layla and her fellow finalists have a packed schedule of eco activities and preliminary competitions.
“It’s been a whirlwind so far!,” Layla tells Donegal Woman.
“The schedule is pretty busy but we have our opening ceremony on December 3rd, followed by a few weeks of exploring and touring Vietnam.
“It’s all very exciting and I have just received my official sash. It’s an honour to represent Ireland and there’s no feeling like it!”
Layla, 22, is a Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Science student at ATU Donegal and also works at Maple Ballyliffin, where she has an entire team of supporters cheering her on.
The competition tagline is ‘Beauties for a Cause’ and Layla will be championing environmental awareness this month, as well as what is happening in her home community. Layla’s own home is affected by defective concrete blocks and she is using her platform to highlight the plight faced by her parents, Donna and Pat, and thousands of others.
As a voice for her community, Layla said: “I live in a mica house and it’s unsafe, stressful, and scary to say the least.
“When I was asked what is something in my day to day life that helps the environment I instantly thought on the mica scandal. A massive proportion of these houses will be demolished and I thought on how people are salvaging as many materials as they can to reuse again.”
Layla says her home of Ballyliffin is an “absolutely class wee village” but that Inishowen and the mica crisis are often neglected in the media.
There are huge lessons to be learned from the redress and remediation process, she said.
“It’s important we don’t go backwards when construction does begin, problems such as waste management on site, sustainable materials and eco friendly building techniques are all topics I hope to educate on as my time as Miss Earth Ireland 2023.”
Layla adds: “In the years to come, hopefully if all goes well, there will be a great amount of construction here in Donegal, creating more jobs, improving mental health, boosting tourism and restoring our beautiful scenery.”