Sunday 18 August 2019

Top Irish dancer (12) back in High Court seeking order to allow her enter world championship

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Tim Healy

A 12-YEAR-old girl has returned before the High Court seeking an order that will allow 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) which regulates and runs competitive Irish step dancing.

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

The 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 because she had to switch dancing teachers last July.

As a result, she 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, Kristy Blair McCarthy, Ella seeks orders including an injunction restraining the CLRG from preventing her from competition in the Irish Dancing World Championships qualifying round.

The case was adjourned to allow a sub-committee of CLRG consider her application for an exemption to allow take part in the qualifiers. 

On Tuesday, Mr Justice Tony O'Connor was told by Ella's counsel Gerard Meehan that 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.

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 said there is no basis for the action.

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

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, counsel said.

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, he said.

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

The hearing continues.

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