Irish dancing teacher secures High Court injunction allowing him role at Boston event

California-based Vinny O’Connor put evidence before the court claiming he would suffer if excluded

An American-based Irish dancing teacher and adjudicator has secured an temporary injunction from the High Court in Dublin allowing him to perform a role at an event in Boston this weekend.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Mark Sanfey said that he was prepared with “some reluctance” to grant California-based Vinny O’Connor temporary orders restraining the body that regulates and governs Irish dancing, An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, from preventing him acting as an examiner at the Boston event.

However based on the evidence put before the court in relation to the damage Mr O Connor claims he will suffer if excluded, the judge said that he was prepared to grant the temporary injunction.

The court heard that earlier this year Mr O’Connor was the subject of a disciplinary hearing conducted by the defendant relating to a complaint made against him in July 2022.


Mr O’Connor was sanctioned in the form of a written warning, which will remain on his record for a period, after he was found to have breached the defendant’s code of conduct and social media guidelines.

However an allegation that the plaintiff had engaged in gross misconduct was not upheld.

As a consequence of his written warning he is not allowed to adjudicate at any major event for the duration of the sanction, the court heard.

He claims that while he is an adjudicator, he is also an examiner of Irish dancing which he says are separate functions within the organisation.

Mr O’Connor claims that the organisers of the Boston event asked him some time ago to be an examiner at the event.

Following the defendant’s written warning he claims that he was not provided with documentation in respect of the examiner’s role in Boston.

He claims that he sought clarification on his position from the event’s organisers, but claims to have not gotten any reply.

He claims that on Wednesday of this week a representative of the defendant expressed the Coimisiún’s belief that the sanction prevents Mr O’Connor from acting as an examiner at any event run by the defendant.

He claims that the sanction does not prevent him from acting as an examiner at the event where he says he will not be performing the duties of an adjudicator.

He claims that as an Irish dancing teacher for many years his purported exclusion from the Boston event would damage his reputation and have a devastating effect on his career.

The order was sought from the Irish courts, in respect of an event due to take place in the United States, because the defendant body is based in Dublin.

Seeking the injunction Mr O’Connor’s lawyers argued that the sanction, and the suspension, imposed on Mr O’Connor in late January had breached his rights to fair procedures and natural justice.

In his ruling judge said that he was reluctant to make an order that would have the effect of “forcing the two sides together”.

However, the court accepted that Mr O’Connor has travelled from California to Boston, and that any exclusion from the event would have an adverse impact on Mr O’Connor’s reputation.

The judge said that he was also conscious of the alleged lack of communication from the defendant regarding the effect of its purported sanction on Mr O’Connor’s ability to act as an examiner.

In the circumstances the court was prepared to grant an interim injunction restraining the defendant body from preventing Mr O’Connor from acting as an examiner for the Boston event.

The event, which is due to commence on Friday morning in Boston, will run through the weekend and concludes on February 26th.

The order was granted on an ex parte basis, meaning that only one side was present in court.

The matter will return before the court next week.

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