Arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 50th
anniversary Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (World Irish Dancing Championships) will not take place in 2020.
As I am sure you will know, the officers of An Coimisiún have been in intensive negotiations with various state bodies and commercial organisations to ensure that your interests were protected as much as possible and that any potential loss kept to a minimum.
Our strongest desire was to give as much notice as possible about any postponement or cancellation. However, the HSE and Government has been reluctant to give any guidance regarding the holding of large events post 29th March. Yesterday, Leo Varadkar stated that “The emergency is likely to go on well beyond March 29th”, a signal that the Government is highly likely to enforce the period of lock down currently being enforced in the country. This impacts greatly on the ability of patrons to successfully claim on their insurance for travel and accommodations. However, this is not what is in place as of today the 18th March 2020.
On March 11th 2020, the COVID-19 Virus was upgraded to the status of “global pandemic”. Health authorities and government officials worldwide have been banning sporting events, conferences and mass gatherings, although technically this ban is currently only in force in Ireland until 29th March 2020. European countries and the USA have imposed increasingly extreme travel restrictions including a 30-day ban between Europe and the USA.
Unfortunately, due to the many factors involved, it’s been determined at this time that we cannot hold off any longer in the hope of receiving official word from the Government that our event will not be allowed to go ahead.
The logistical variables involved in an event such as the World Championships are staggering: the diversity, age, and numbers of attendees were some of the major factors for the authorities and organisers to consider. Further concern was raised regarding the potential risk of the propagation of the virus during our event and the consequences that would follow if any of the attendees became sick while attending the Championships. The scale and nature of the World Championships makes risk mitigation an impossible and we must do everything we can to protect the vulnerable members of our community and do what we can to contribute to the social good.
It’s undeniable that this is devastating if not unsurprising news for the Irish Dancing community especially as there is an additional emotional impact due to the special nature of this year’s event: it being the 50th anniversary celebration of the World Championships. We acknowledge the many sacrifices and hundreds of hours of preparation that have been invested by the dancing community worldwide as they prepared for this most magical celebration of our culture. Ultimately the wellbeing of our dancers, families and volunteers are the top priority to CLRG representatives during these troubling times. This consideration supersedes all concerns about logistics and the financial loss to our patrons and stakeholders.
After the logistics of the current cancellation are managed, it is our full intention to investigate every possible option for re-scheduling the 50th Anniversary event. We have a number of contingency plans already being developed. All entry fees will be refunded over the course of the next couple of weeks and we would ask for your continued patience while this massive task is undertaken by our office staff. Details regarding holding over qualifying positions will be issued once the Oireachtas Committee can come together to discuss same.
We commit to sharing updates and plans to the best of our abilities as we move forward.
As of March 11th 2020, most major airlines have been modifying and relaxing their cancellation and rebooking policies. Please read the most current announcements on each airline’s official website to determine your rights to a ticket change or a refund.
We are still working with contracted hotels and partners to negotiate the best possible arrangements and methods of relief for attendees that booked accommodations. Unfortunately at this time there has not been a uniform response with some hotels offering refunds and others not. This is very disappointing, however we expect that once the state of emergency is extended, all hotels will fall in line and offer refunds or free transfer to future dates. Please stay tuned for announcements in the near future.
We wish to thank our volunteers, office staff and all stakeholders for their hard work and patience while we evaluated the situation and waited for official direction on how to proceed. Whilst it may have appeared that a final decision was slow to be reached, we can guarantee you that officers have been working diligently and tirelessly behind the scenes to monitor the situation and develop relevant contingency plans.
Our love and commitment to Irish dancing and culture has persisted throughout many challenges. We need to support each other at this time of repose in order to prevail over these extenuating circumstances.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, we encourage all individuals to follow instructions from the relevant health authorities in their areas in regards to preventing the spread of the virus.
Further updates will be posted as they are available on our CLRG website, www.clrg.ie under the news section.