An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), the oldest and largest competitive Irish dance organization in the world, has requested that the media "be mindful" of approaching individuals for comment at the 2023 Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann (All Ireland Dancing Championships) that are currently being hosted in Killarney, Co Kerry.
"We would ask media to be mindful when approaching individuals for comment that some might feel intimidated," CLRG said in a statement on Wednesday, February 15.
"It has been a challenging six months for our community of teachers, parents, and dancers, and many of those competing in Killarney are minors."
CLRG did say that media are "welcome to come along and share in our celebration of Irish dance" and that the organization has "enjoyed reading some wonderful reports that have showcased the spirit and solidarity of the Irish dancing community."
The CLRG statement added: "Due to anticipated heightened interest in this year’s event, we have established a more formal press office process than in previous years and have a press officer on site to assist media."
CLRG noted that as the major Irish dance competition continues, they are "lifted by the performances of dancers from all over the world who grace us with their exceptional athleticism and talent in Irish dance."
Ahead of the 2023 All Irelands, CLRG said that accredited journalists may apply for event access and photo passes by contacting the Public Relations Officer at email@example.com. CLRG said all applicants will be required to complete the necessary paperwork and be compliant with the organization's child protection policy and all rules.
Wednesday's statement came a day after the Irish Independent reported that CLRG "has asked its members to defer any questioning journalists to its press office" at the All Irelands.
According to the Irish Independent, all CLRG members received an email ahead of the competition from dance body chiefs saying: “For those of you attending Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann this coming week, we ask that if you are approached by any media outlets you refer all requests to Anne Hall, who is serving as PRO for the event."
CLRG's 2023 All Ireland Dancing Championships are being hosted as the Irish dance organization continues to grapple with the explosive allegations of so-called "feis-fixing."
In early October, CLRG confirmed it had launched an investigation after a complaint, seen by IrishCentral and circulated on social media, implicated at least 12 Irish dance teachers and or adjudicators in asking for certain placements and favors before Irish dance competitions even began. Some of the favors requested were sexual in nature.
An independent investigation has since recommended that 44 cases be moved to "full disciplinary hearings" which are understood to now be in progress.
CLRG said that as per its disciplinary procedures, anyone involved in the disciplinary hearings is "obliged to temporarily step down from any position" and "may not make any application to officiate at, or act in any official capacity at, any CLRG registered competition or event."
On February 9, just days before the All Irelands began, CLRG announced new adjudicating rules for the 2023 All Ireland Championships "to ensure fair competition and effective adjudication."
While announcing the new adjudicating rules, CLRG said that it expected over 2,000 competitors at its six-day All Ireland Dancing Championships.