There is uproar over a decision by US-based Irish dance championships to allow fake spray tan and makeup for under-ten-year-old performers despite an order from Ireland that the fake tan and makeup be omitted for the youngest dancers.

Matters have come to a head at the Mid-Atlantic championships, a key competition to identify dancers for the world championships, which are being held in Philadelphia this weekend.

Children under ten are being encouraged to use the spray tan and makeup, according to Denis Mulcahy of the organization Feis Dads and the New York Cork Association who strongly opposes such usage due to spray tan's alleged links to cancer.

He claims that the ban was lifted following pressure from representatives of spray tan companies some of whom serve on Irish dance boards.

Feis Dads and County Cork Association claim  that young Irish Dancers are being coerced into spray tanning their bodies and faces for competitions in feiseanna and regional championships. They say that the  CLRG – the Gaelic acronym for the Irish Dancing Commission created a rule banning the use of tanning for dancers 10 and under internationally, effective March 2014. 

However, recently, the IDTANA – Irish Dance Teachers of North America – overruled this ruling with the following:

“With respect to the demands on the Mid Atlantic Region to successfully complete its Oireachtas, processing over 2500 dancers on five stages in 72 hours, all dancers regardless of age will be allowed to wear tanner on their legs and faces and wear light age appropriate makeup at the discretion of their parents and teachers.  

“This is allowed under the Makeup Rule passed by the IDTANA at the 2014 Convention and follows the precedence set on the same issue at the 2014 NAIDC. Adjudicators for the event will be notified of this exemption.” Feis Dads say they notified the CLRG  and CLRG have rebuked the Mid Atlantic Region of the IDTANA – Irish Dance Teachers of North America for their authorized over-ruling of this Rule.

Mulcahy circulated a statement to the media which read:

“It has come to the attention of the County Cork Association and Feis Dads of some disturbing, unhealthy and dangerous trends relating to Feiseanna in recent years, in particular – the promotion of “spray tanning” among Irish dance youth, under the age of 18.  The use of “spray tanning” has initially been implemented at the Regional & National Championships, but has worked its way down to local Feiseanna, being widely promoted and encouraged by youth, parents, and dance teacher, in many cases required/ mandated (as part of the costume) by schools at the annual Oireachtas. 

“On June 12th, ABC News aired an investigative report documenting the dangers and health hazards of “spray tanning” on the public, especially upon the youth: 

They stated “The active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage... 

Mulcahy says, “Fake tanning and makeup has no basis or tradition with Irish dance or Feiseanna for over 113 years of organized Feiseanna, and centuries prior.  

"This sexist and baseless practice is morally and racially offensive to the Irish people as well as to its genesis of its founding organization – the Gaelic League; founded to promote the Traditions, Culture and Heritage of the Irish People. 

“We respectfully petition the leadership of all interested parties act with integrity and stewardship to protect our children, as well as institute a vehicle to allow more parental involvement in major decisions and trends affecting our children.“ The statement ends.