Mayo gets hot and bothered over kissing competition that promotes a range of organic lipsticks.

When a feature appeared in the Connaught Telegraph newspaper for a Lip Smackin' Competition to promote a new range of organic lipstick, locals were up in arms against the US company behind the event. 

The kissing competition is an experiment they are to carry out in Mayo to test the market for their products.

The Virginia based 'Pan Ryan International Company' chose County Mayo as the location for their market research programme which would link their new range of lipsticks with the World Kissing Competition to be held in Puerto Rico later in the year. 

Sales director, Victoria Merritt says that they have had very few objections to the competition in the United States. As some of The Pan Ryan International Company directors are originally from Mayo they thought it was the ideal location to launch the campaign in Europe. 

They believed that there would be no adverse reaction to the competition.

Entertainment Correspondent with the Connaught Telegraph, Michael Commins, was sceptical of the competition at first. Initially there was great public interest in the competition. However, it didn't take long before letters of protest began to pour in with around 80 percent of complaints coming from women. 

I wish to protest in the strongest possible terms at this disgusting kissing competition you're organising in your paper. Who do you think you are? What's your paper coming to at all? You should be ashamed of yourself. Disgusted parent.

Kissing competition are nothing new and are internationally recognised in The Guinness Book of Records. Mrs Ronald Reagan the first, Jane Wyman,  holds the record for the longest screen kiss. There are also records for the all time longest kiss and the longest underwater kiss. 

The kissing competition is planned to take place in the town hall in Claremorris on 28 April provided local opposition doesn't stop it. One local comments,

I think the organisers should abandon it immediately.

Newspaper editor Tom Correll and contest organiser Victoria Merrit continue to defend the kissing competition. Vicotira Merrit says the competition has no sexual connotation and is about kissing for visual impact and technique. 

Not everyone is opposed to the competition with most people on the streets of Castlebar seeing it as a bit of fun.

I think we should have one in every town.

The first of the heats of the competition will be held in the villages of Bohola, Ballycroy and Ballycastle.  

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 April 1985. The reporter is Jim Fahy.