James McCutcheon SDCRG, the chairperson of Irish dance organization An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), has written to membership today, December 8, to inform them that the independent investigation has recommended that 44 cases proceed to full disciplinary hearings.
As per CLRG's rules, the members involved in the 44 cases are "obliged to temporarily step down" as the disciplinary hearings proceed.
McCutcheon did not name the members who would be facing disciplinary hearings but did say the individuals involved have been notified.
It is unclear if the individuals facing disciplinary hearings are TCRGs (teachers), ADCRGs (adjudicators), or both.
The news of the full disciplinary hearings comes just before the Irish dance organization is set to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in Belfast this weekend. The EGM is set to be in-person only, despite pushback from membership calling for a hybrid option in order to attend virtually.
The EGM was called after an overwhelming majority of teachers within CLRG signaled their desire for McCutcheon to resign as well as an overhaul of CLRG and its policies.
In October, allegations of so-called 'feis-fixing' rocked CLRG, the oldest and largest competitive Irish dance organization in the world. 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.
IrishCentral understands that no Irish dancers have been involved in the seeking of favors, only teachers and adjudicators.
Below is the email issued by James McCutcheon SDCRG, Cathaoirleach of CLRG, on December 8:
As you are aware, An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha initiated a disciplinary process into allegations of wrongdoing which have been widely reported.
Led and overseen by Mr. Justice Michael Peart, a retired judge of the Court of Appeal, the independent investigation has thoroughly examined all complaints, grievances, and all accompanying evidence.
This external investigation team has provided an update on its progress, and in the interests of transparency, we can confirm 44 cases have now been recommended to proceed to full disciplinary hearing. All the individuals involved have been informed and Clauses 3.2.a and 3.2.b of the Disciplinary Procedure have been invoked.
[3.2.a] Where following an investigation into any complaint, a recommendation is made that a disciplinary committee is convened, in the case of any individual elected to An Coimisiún or any of its affiliated bodies, [he/she] will be obliged to temporarily step down from any position held while the process is ongoing. (AGM 2016)
[3.2.b] Where an investigation into Gross Misconduct concludes there is sufficient evidence to invoke formal Disciplinary Procedures against any individual, that individual may not make any application to officiate at, or act in any official capacity at, any CLRG registered competition or event until formal Disciplinary Procedures have concluded.
These cases will be heard by an independent External Disciplinary Panel. Recruiting experienced, external individuals for this Panel is underway and will be finalised in due course.
We wish to reiterate that CLRG regards all allegations of wrongdoing with the utmost seriousness. We look forward to the External Disciplinary Panel commencing its work and dealing with these issues as soon as possible.
We would also like to reassure Members that we are fully dedicated to introducing positive changes as agreed and approved by your representatives at An Coimisiún. This is something we are committed to and focused on moving forward.
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