The Oireachtas Committee wants an Irish dance body to appear before it amid an alleged controversy over Feis’ arrest

A world-renowned dance teacher and former Riverdance star has called on the government to launch an independent investigation into the Feis Fixing scandal.

It comes as an Oireachtas committee has agreed to invite An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG) to appear before him to ‘calm down’ the world of Irish dancing in the wake of the alleged cheating controversy.

At a private meeting today, the Oireachtas Arts and Culture Committee decided to give the CLRG an opportunity to appear before it either now or after completing its own investigation into the allegations.

It is understood that if the CLRG wishes to appear before the committee after completing its own investigation, it will be expected to set a timetable for how long that investigation – which will be led by a former Court of Appeals judge – will last.

It is understood the committee decided to invite the CLRG to appear before it because of major concerns about the impact the scandal is having on Irish dancing’s reputation.

Ronan McCormack, a former member of the original Riverdance line-up, said earlier Wednesday that he had personally witnessed examples of Irish dancing cheating.

Over the years I have come to realize that not everyone who sits down to judge a competition does so with integrity

Mr. McCormack, who has been dancing since he was three years old, has been a registered member of the CLRG for over 20 years, both as a dance teacher and as a judge.

“Over the years I have come to realize that not everyone who sits down to judge a competition does so with integrity. And not everyone is giving the dancers fair attention that day,” McCormack told RTÉ live line program today.

He said he personally saw evidence of an incident in which a dance teacher shoved a “wish list” of scores under a judge’s hotel room door, and on another occasion saw a teacher shove a piece of paper through a judge in front of a judge a competition.

The dance teacher, who currently lives in Florida, said he believes anyone currently under investigation for alleged cheating should be suspended without prejudice.

Last week the Irish Independent revealed judges currently under investigation for alleged fraud were allowed to continue judging dance competitions even after allegations were made.

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The Irish dancing world has been rocked by allegations in recent days. Photo: Getty

Mr McCormack also questioned whether the CLRG should be allowed to set the parameters of the investigation into alleged fee assessment. The CLRG has appointed Mr Justice Michael Peart, a former judge of the Court of Appeal, to oversee its investigation into allegations of cheating at Irish dance competitions.

But this week a senior member of the CLRG said so Irish Independent that they understood Mr Peart was asked to give an “opinion” as to whether there was sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action against the teachers accused of cheating, rather than to conduct an inquiry.

It also emerged that the CLRG only reached out to Mr Peart after the allegations were leaked online in September, although evidence supporting the claims was first presented to the CLRG in July.

If they refuse to make change, maybe it’s time for the organization to go

“Let’s face it: this investigation is being created by the organization for the organization. It is certainly not an independent investigation. As I said, I’m not questioning the judge’s integrity,” McCormack said.

He said he believes Arts and Culture Secretary Catherine Martin should launch a fully independent government-led investigation into the CLRG.

Mr McCormack added he believed now was the best chance for Irish dance to change as the “eyes of the world” were on it.

He said if the CLRG doesn’t reform Irish dance, it may have to be disbanded.

“If they refuse to make change, maybe it’s time for the organization to go,” he said.

“I don’t want it to work. It has a long history of promoting Irish dance and I don’t want the baby to be thrown out with the bath water here. However, something has to change. And these people who sit on the board and attend these meetings are the people who have the power to make that change happen.”

The CLRG is no longer answering their phones and has not responded to emails from the Irish Independent in a week. Today all the blinds were drawn in the Dublin city center office and the knock on the door went unanswered.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/oireachtas-committee-wants-irish-dancing-body-to-appear-before-it-amid-alleged-feis-fixing-controversy-42061651.html The Oireachtas Committee wants an Irish dance body to appear before it amid an alleged controversy over Feis’ arrest

Fry Electronics Team

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