Friday 23 August 2019

Top Irish dancer (12) loses court case to enter forthcoming world championship

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Aodhan O'Faolain

A 12-YEAR-old girl has failed to secure a High Court order allowing her enter a forthcoming world championship Irish dancing qualifier.

Mr Justice Tony O'Connor ruled that UK based Ella McCarthy was not entitled to an injunction against An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha (CLRG) from preventing her competing in the Irish Dancing World Championships qualifying round. 

While he had every sympathy for and understood her disappointment, the judge said  the legal arguments raised by Ella were "tentative"  and not so strong that they would merit the granting of an injunction pending the outcome of the final hearing of the dispute.

Neither Ella nor her mother were in court for the ruling.

Ella who is ranked in the top 10 Irish dancers in the world, sought the order  against the CLRG, an organisation that regulates and runs competitive Irish step dancing.

The court heard that through no fault of her own Ella, of Kranlee House, St Andrews Park, Burnetts Lane, Horton Heath in Southampton  was not allowed enter CLRG competitions for six months under the governing body's rules because she had to switch dancing teachers.

As a result of having to switch teachers last July,  Ella cannot take part in a world championship qualifier in Southern England due to take place next week, or next year's World Irish Dancing Championships.

Suing through her mother, Kirsty Blair McCarthy, Ella sought orders including an injunction restraining the CLRG from preventing her from competition in the Irish Dancing World Championships qualifying round.

The CLRG denied any wrongdoing on its part and urged the court to dismiss the application.

Mr Justice O'Connor said the reason Ella had to move teachers was due to a breakdown in the relationship  between her mother, who is registered dancing teacher with CLRG, and the head of the London school Ella had previously attended.

While looking at the overall case he said the points raised on Ella's behalf were not ones which raised a strong case likely to succeed  at a full hearing.

He had also taken into consideration the impact that granting such an order would have on the CLRG's ability to regulate Irish dancing. 

The CLRG was entitled to its legal cost against Ella, he said.

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