Irish dancer, 12, continues High Court against group blocking her entry to world championship qualifier

By Ann O’Loughlin. 

A 12 year old girl has returned before the High Court seeking an order allowing her enter a forthcoming world championship Irish dancing qualifier.

Last month UK based Ella McCarthy, who is ranked in the top 10 Irish dancers in the world, brought proceedings against An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha (CLRG) an organisation that regulates and runs competitive Irish step dancing.

The CLRG denies any wrongdoing and opposes the application for an injunction.

The High Court heard that through no fault of her own Ella, of Kranlee House, St Andrews Park, Burnetts Lane, Horton Heath in Southampton is not allowed compete for six months under CLRG rules because she had to switch dancing teachers.

As a result of having to move teachers last July Ella faces the prospect of not being able to take part in a world championship qualifier in England due to take place next week.

Suing through her mother, Ms Kristy Blair McCarthy, Ella seeks High Court orders including an injunction restraining the CLRG from preventing her from competition in the Irish Dancing World Championships qualifying round.

Kristy Blair McCarthy, the mother of Ella McCarthy, at a previous sitting of the High Court. Pic: Collins

The case had been adjourned following talks between the parties to allow a subcommittee of CLRG consider her application for an exemption to allow take part in the qualifiers.

Mr Justice Tony O’Connor was today told by Ella’s counsel Gerard Meehan Bl, the CLRG was still not prepared to let his client participate in the qualifier.

No reason was given for the decision, and Ella has no right of an appeal.

As a result his client was asking the court for an injunction as if she cannot take part in the qulifier she cannot take part in the 2018 world championships.

Counsel said the reason Ella had to switch teachers was she was "expelled" from the school in London she had been attending last July due to a difficulty between her mother and the head of that school.

The CLRG opposes the application.

Its counsel Dermot Hewson Bl said there is no basis for the action, and urged the court not to grant the injunction.

Counsel that the six month period was not imposed as a disciplinary measure.

Counsel said the CLRG’s rule was put in place to protect young dancers from having too much pressure put on them by their parents, teachers and themselves.

The rule had been in place for 30 years and it was open to the membership of that organisation to change it if they so wished, counsel added.

Counsel also told the court that it is also the CLRG’s case that Ella lacks locus standi to bring proceedings against it against the CLG, and that it has no contract with her.

The hearing continues.

KEYWORDS: Court, Irish dancing


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