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By Paddy Slackin

In a swingeing response to accusations from Séamus Tansey, CCE has come out to defend their fair and equitable policies on the treatment of whistleblowers in traditional Irish music.

In a controversial attack it was alleged that Comhaltas had de facto policies of side-lining whistleblowers in Irish music. It was claimed that they never got to go on Prize Winners tours (even of the UK), that whistleblowers’ albums were not promoted, that Comhaltas regarded the whistle as an inferior instrument and even that it didn’t matter if the All-Ireland Senior tin whistle competition was rigged as it “wasn’t a real instrument anyhow”

Comhaltas primo Chairman Lau dismissed these claims as outrageous and an affront to the integrity of an esteemed organisation that was central to the revival of Irish music. He further stated that all known cases of whistleblowing had been considered by the appropriate authorities and that no substance was found to any of the claims made. He also said we don’t even make them wear silly costumes – like the dancers have to wear.

The Chairman was emphatic that Comhaltas were all for whistleblowers and reminded us that he had even shaken hands with Paddy Moloney at a St Patrick’s Day event at the Whitehouse in Washington DC. He refused however to be drawn on the question as to whether the whistle was a real instrument and pointed to funding that Comhaltas has provided the World Music Centre at the University of Limerick to produce definitive research on this most important question.

Several whistleblowers were contacted for comments on the matter. Mary Bergin told us that she didn’t really wish to comment on the matter and that she had “more than done her bit to promote whistleblowing”. Seán Ryan said he didn’t really care what anyone thought and he would blow the whistle whenever he wanted and that he had not received even one complaint about his whistleblowing.

Joannie Madden told us that this was all crap and that there was a lot money to be made and a lot of fans out there for serious whistleblowers – if only they were fun to be around. On the other hand Joe Skelton told us that he was so upset by the harsh treatment of whistleblowers that he had taken to the banjo, a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.


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