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Competitive Irish dancing organization investigates cheating allegations

<i>Charles McQuillan/Getty Images</i><br/>The world's oldest and largest competitive Irish dancing organization has launched an investigation after being hit by allegations of competition fixing. Opening day of the World Irish Dancing Championships on April 10
Charles McQuillan
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
The world's oldest and largest competitive Irish dancing organization has launched an investigation after being hit by allegations of competition fixing. Opening day of the World Irish Dancing Championships on April 10

By Niamh Kennedy, CNN

The world’s oldest and largest competitive Irish dancing organization has launched an investigation after being hit by allegations of competition fixing, warning “unethical behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.”

In a statement posted on its website on Thursday, the Irish Dancing Commission said its ethics committee had received “allegations, with supporting documentation, of several grievous breaches of our Code of Conduct” in July of this year.

The commission did not specify what kind of breaches were alleged, though local media reported they were related to accusations of competition fixing. The Irish Independent broke the news of the allegations in an exclusive investigation published on Wednesday.

“Due to the potential extent of such allegations — and to ensure fairness, transparency and thoroughness — the services of an independent former judge of the Court of Appeal have been engaged to oversee and supervise the immediate investigation into these matters,” the statement continued.

The Irish Dancing Commission, a governing body known in Irish as An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), is responsible for organizing the World Irish Dancing Championships. The competition which is held annually in locations across Ireland, the United Kingdom and North America attracts competitors from across the globe and is considered to be the world’s most prestigious Irish dancing competition.

“The process will no doubt be difficult and arduous, but this grossly unethical behavior must be eliminated from our competitions, dance schools and governing organizations,” the CLRG said in its statement.

The CLRG made it clear in the statement that any registered member found to have engaged in practices breaching the code of conduct “will be subject to due and full process” under the commission’s disciplinary procedures.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the Irish Culture Minister Catherine Martin said she welcomed the fact that there is “a retired judge investigating these matters,” calling it a “really important” factor.

Martin said she would write to the commission to “seek assurances that they are taking every step necessary to restore confidence for families right across the world that their children, that their young people are being treated fairly.”

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