Thursday 23 November 2017

Figure skater (18) fails in legal bid to ensure selection for international events

Fianait Bligh (18). Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Fianait Bligh (18). Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Tim Healy

A figure skater has failed in a High Court bid to compel the sport's national governing body to select her for participation in international skating events.

Skater Fianait Bligh (18) had sought orders compelling the Ice Skating Association of Ireland comply with representations allegedly made to her, if she fulfilled certain criteria, she would be selected to take part in International Skating Union events.

Ms Bligh, originally from Dublin and now living in Scotland, competes at junior level and claims she is being discriminated against. She claimed, relying on the alleged representations, she had gone to Canada and later Scotland for training.

The Association denied her claims and said, while Ms Bligh had been picked for the Irish development squad, that did not mean she was entitled to orders requiring she be selected for the national team.

Having heard arguments from Donnchadh Woulfe BL, for Ms Bligh, and David Dodd BL, for the Association, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan ruled Ms Bligh had failed to make out a case entitling her to the mandatory orders sought.

The judge stressed the court had been told, if Ms Bligh meets the required standard in the future, she may yet succeed in representing Ireland in international events.

Ms Bligh, who was in court with her mother, was clearly upset at the outcome of her application.

The court had heard skating is very important to Ms Bligh who had finished school in order to concentrate full time on her skating. She had undergone training in Ontario, Canada, where she lived for a year and now trains and resides in Scotland 

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