Irish dancer’s case for world championship qualifier adjourned

Ella McCarthy brings High Court action against An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha

A legal action by a 12-year-old champion Irish dancer has been adjourned to allow consideration of her application for an exemption which would allow her to dance in a world championship qualifying competition next month.

Ella McCarthy, who lives in Southampton, England, and is ranked in the top 10 Irish dancers in the world, brought proceedings against An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), which regulates and runs competitive Irish step dancing.

The High Court had heard that, through no fault of her own, Ella, of Kranlee House, St Andrews Park, Burnetts Lane, Southampton, was not permitted to compete for six months because she had to switch dancing teachers last July.

As a result, she faces the prospect of not being able to take part in a world championship qualifier due to take place next month.


Orders sought

Suing through her mother, Kristy Blair McCarthy, Ella sought various orders, including an injunction restraining the CLRG from preventing her from competing in the Irish Dancing World Championships qualifying round.

When the matter returned before the court on Thursday, Peter Bland SC, for the CLRG, told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan the parties had reached an accommodation.

Counsel said it had been agreed a CLRG sub-committee would meet to consider Ella’s application for an exemption which, if granted, would allow her to enter the regional qualifier.

The case could be adjourned until early November to allow the sub-committee to make its decision, he added.

Mr Bland also told the court the six-month period was not a suspension but arose from a rule designed to ensure “undue pressure” is not put on a child when dancers switch teachers.

Gerard Meehan BL, for Ella, said his client was willing to accept the offer from the CLRG.