Irish Dancing teacher rejects allegation she asked judge to mark down certain competitors

Aodhan O'Faolain


Aodhan O'Faolain


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A former world champion Irish dancer has strongly rejected claims she attempted to coerce an adjudicator into awarding unfavourable marks to certain competitors at a competition they were judging. 

The allegation was made against Linda Martyn who runs Irish Dancing School in Tuam Co Galway, and also works as a special needs teacher at a primary school.

She is the subject of a disciplinary hearing over the alleged comment was made to another adjudicator when they were body judging an Irish Dancing competition that was part of the Great Britain Championships  held in the UK on October 15th 2016

She rejects the claim and sought various High Court orders including an injunction preventing An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha, the body that runs and regulates Irish Dancing, from commencing a disciplinary hearing into the allegation against her.

The court had previously granted her a temporary injunction preventing the hearing originally fixed for early June from going ahead.

Her application to extend the injunction, which she sought to be kept in place until her action against An Coimisiun had been determined, returned before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan at the High Court on Wednesday.

The Judge, who during the hearing expressed his concerns about documentation in the case, said the allegation against Ms Martyn was "most serious."

Seeking the order Gerard Meehan Bl, instructed by Niall Colgan & Co Solicitors, for Ms Martin said his client had commenced proceedings due to concerns over the investigation process, which it was claimed contained serious shortcomings.

Counsel said Ms Martyn said she was not informed exactly  what the allegations against her were.

Counsel said Mr Martyn was entitled to bring her legal representatives with her to the hearing, but they were not allowed to participate or speak during the disciplinary hearing.

Counsel said that any adverse finding against his client, who had been dancing since she was six years of age, would have a huge effect on her personally and professionally.

"Dancing is her life," counsel said, adding that his client could if there was a finding against her lose her Irish Dance school.

Opposing the application Dermot Hewson Bl for An Coimisiun denied that the allegations against Ms Martyn was unclear, and argued that the disciplinary hearing should be allowed to proceed.

Following an adjournment to discuss issued raised by the Judge the sides agreed that the hearing should proceed if certain steps were carried out.

The hearing will center on the allegation that Ms Martyn attempted to coerce an adjudicator, who she did not previously know into awarding unfavourable marks to certain competitors at the competition. 

Mr Hewson said the Coimision agreed the disciplinary hearing should be conducted by an independent three person committee. 

Two of those persons are to be nominated by the law society, while the third will be nominated by An Coimisiun.

It will be somebody who has not been involved in the matter previously and will have a knowledge of Irish dancing, the court heard.

In addition Ms Martyn's lawyers will be able to attend the and speak for her at the hearing.

Mr Justice Gilligan also said that the only documentation, such as witness statements, that the three person committee should be given in respect of the allegation is material that has been seen by Ms Martyn.

The parties were to exchange documents they deem relevant and it was envisaged that the hearing could take place in six weeks time, the Judge added. 

The Judge then struck out the injunction application and awarded the costs to Ms Martyn.