Allegations of widespread competition fixing in the world of Irish dancing have left Andrea Gilligan “so personally disappointed”.
The Irish Independent has seen screenshots from a number of teachers and judges seemingly offering or asking to fix the results of competitions.
Lunchtime Live presenter Andrea Gilligan did Irish dancing as a child and was shocked by the allegations:
“I was so sad to read this story last night because I know how disappointed so many dancers across the country will be,” she said.
“And I know how disappointed as well former dancers, who maybe just always missed that stop on the plinth, never quite made medal position, I know how disheartened they are too today.”
Those who view Irish dancing as nothing much more than a nice cultural hobby for young girls are “widely mistaken”, she added.
“It hasn’t been that way with the bendy curlers for well over two decades.
“We were travelling three days a week for lessons, we were at feiseanna everywhere in Ireland and further afield as well!
“You knew every back road in the country and it was just a ritual.
“This is a huge industry, it takes a ferocious level of dedication.
“The world championships were held in Belfast in April this year, that’s the Olympics!
“It’s a massive, global industry and it’s more than just the hobby that a lot of people seem to think it is.”
With so many personal childhood memories wrapped up in the sport, Andrea found the allegations hit home in a really personal way.
“I know for me, it just provided great years, wonderful memories and kind of just that innocent childhood,” she said.
“That’s why I think I was just so personally disappointed to read this story from Ellen Coyne in the Irish Independent last night.
“I know that so many people were disappointed by it.”
Main image: Andrea Gilligan