An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG, the oldest and largest competitive Irish dance organization in the world) voted to impose a levy on its instructors and adjudicators to cover operating costs during an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on Friday, June 14.

Sandra Connick, Chairperson of CLRG, wrote to registrants on Saturday, June 15 that the five-hour-long meeting the night prior was described by one member as "the most emotional meeting she'd attended in some 30 years."

"There was extensive debate over the company's current financial standing," Connick wrote in her letter that was seen by IrishCentral on Monday.

"With grave reservations, the floor agreed to a levy on registration fees in order to cover operating costs, including the new executive positions of Managing Director and Marketing & Communications Manager."

Connick wrote that registration fees for TMRFs [ceili teachers], TCRGs [solo teachers], and ADCRGs [adjudicators] will be €400 for 2024 - 2025.

There will be options for installments or the payment can be made in full, Connick wrote, adding that more details will follow.

Connick also wrote that "most importantly," membership voted "overwhelmingly" to move all meetings online.

"Should it be allowed under Irish company law, it is possible that next year's AGM will also be held online," she wrote.

"This represents a potential savings of over €300k per year."

Friday's meeting was held virtually, one teacher told IrishCentral.

Connick added that among the motions passed on Friday was a stipulation that the North American Feis Commission pay all expenses related to their delegate attending meetings.

Elsewhere during Friday's meeting, there was "much discussion" surrounding motions to reduce costs at Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne, the World Irish Dance Championships, the highest level of competition within CLRG.

Connick wrote that members felt one-day competitions should be considered over the current two-day competition format to save on travel expenses for families as well as event overheads.

However, all motions relating to Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne, including increased entry fees, "have been referred back to the Oireachtas committee so they can research options thoroughly and determine the best outcome," Connick wrote.

Connick wrote she will be calling for an Emergency General Metting (EGM) in four to six weeks to vote on motions related to the running of Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann (the All-Ireland Irish Dance Championships) and Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne.

Connick further wrote: "In response to a multitude of requests from teachers worldwide, I asked for standing orders to be set aside so that members could reconsider a motion from the AGM allowing the Bunreacht (Constitution) to be amended at any general meeting with approval from a 2/3 majority.

"This resulted in much heated discussion; but only 57% of the floor were in favor at this time, just short of the supermajority required to set aside standing orders.

"I wish every registrant who has reached out - either directly or through their representatives - to know that several members spoke passionately about the need to allow a swifter and more responsive evolution of the organization, to empower the voices of teachers, and enable their involvement; goals which could be attained by allowing the floor to reconsider this motion in the future.

"While the floor decided against hearing the motion at this time, the discussion around this procedure sparked much debate and deliberation. 

"Our Bunreacht has been thoroughly reviewed by our legal team, the Co-Ordination Committee, and volunteers with relevant experience in corporate governance law.

"I anticipate that this request or others like it may well come to the floor at the next opportunity."

Concluding her letter, Connick thanked registrants for their "dedication and patience."

She wrote: "We will continue to strive for a better and more unified organization in service of the global Irish Dance community."

Friday's EGM was held just three weeks after Irish dance teachers were informed by CLRG, a registered charity in Ireland, of the severity of the organization's financial situation.

CLRG is in a dire financial situation stemming from the loss of two World Championships due to the pandemic, which was followed soon after by the so-called ‘feis fixing’ scandal that prompted the hiring of a public relations firm and the commissioning of an independent review by Sia Partners.

Much to the frustration of many teachers, disciplinary proceedings related to the cheating scandal have ceased, Connick told registrants last month. While Connick did not state why the proceedings would no longer be pursued, it is understood the cost was becoming too high.

Teachers were told that among the motions that were set to be voted on during Friday’s EGM were proposals to raise membership fees as well as fees on Worlds competitors.

The motions were unpopular with teachers, who were already frustrated with the cessation of disciplinary proceedings. However, if a solution was not delivered on Friday, CLRG would have likely had to declare bankruptcy.

Though the motions were unpopular, some teachers signaled they'd be prepared to pay an increase if serious change is initiated within the organization.

While the motion to impose a levy passed - effectively saving CLRG from bankruptcy, at least for now - members voted against hearing the motion regarding the process of making changes to CLRG's constitution - effectively preventing serious change from being enacted, at least for now.

As one Irish dance teacher told IrishCentral on Friday night, it remains to be seen whether or not teachers - who remain deeply frustrated - will actually pay the levy.