A Fair Plé secret agent has allegedly been spotted in pubs all over the country apparently taking notes on the men to women ratio in traditional Irish music sessions.
Local musicians reported seeing a woman in a trench-coat and sunglasses acting strangely at their session on Wednesday night and thought that she was simply an overly interested spectator, possibly a tourist.
Local musician: "We were just playing away minding our own business, when I spotted this lady the other side of the bar staring at us through a pair of binoculars and writing furiously on a note pad. I thought she might have been one of these tourists that does sketches, ye know?"
"But then my wife spotted the Fair Plé badge and asked what she was up to. She mumbled something about the men to women ratio in the session, saying that there was 6 people in the session and only 2 were woman, so 2 men had to stop playing immediately. She then quickly gathered her things and left! Very strange we thought!"
The Fair Plé movement came to prominence in 2018 in aiming to achieve 'gender balance in the production, performance, promotion and development of Irish traditional and folk music', culminating in a weekend long event highlighting the movement called Rising Tides.
More recently there have been alleged sightings of secret agents representing the movement calling into sessions all over the country and highlighting the ratio of men to women. In one other incident, a secret agent was seen forcibly telling young female musicians that they should demand more women in their session. One of them told The Drone:
"Personally, as a female musician, I LOVE being told by non-music playing females how I'm a victim of the patriarchy. Christ. They must be doing some sort of research but counting how many girls are at a session on a Wednesday night isn't data collection."
The members of the local session were upset when they heard what was being carried out, and insisted that spending 30 minutes at their session on one Wednesday night certainly isn't going to reveal much about gender imbalance or attitudes towards female musicians: "Maybe tonight just more men could come than women, or maybe there are more male musicians living locally than female. Who knows!"
Another female musician told us: "I think they're ignoring a lot of us young musicians and a lot of the non-professional female musicians. I see a lot of people trying to relaunch careers and self-promotion. I've never felt put down one bit, musically I can go toe-to-toe with anyone! If there's some problem it then it's a societal one, rather than a music one."
One secret agent was last seen jumping into their car and heading in the direction of the local university.