Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

Many have been asking about the status of the dispute between Comhaltas and the dissolved Clontarf branch. In exasperation at the failure of Comhaltas to engage in meaningful dialogue to find a resolution to the dispute the ex-Clontarf branch have issued a public statement. This sets out the current state of play. It has been sent to all branches of Comhaltas.

The following is the statement issued.

Comhaltas is still doing everything it can to prevent discussions taking place to resolve the dispute with the dissolved Clontarf branch. Comhaltas will not engage with Clontarf and won’t allow the issues that caused the dispute to be addressed.

Last year Comhaltas and Clontarf were both asked by the team undertaking the official review commissioned by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (DCRGA) to enter into mediation. Clontarf said yes. Comhaltas said no, wrongly insisting their Bunreacht would not allow it. Even Minister Eamonn O Cuiv, when publishing the report last September, called for “a meaningful engagement in relation to the issues…”

It is clear Comhaltas HQ doesn’t want to engage because they now can’t explain why they summarily dissolved Cluain Tarbh Comhaltas, a hard working branch with nearly 50 years service and over 400 members, without any right of reply or appeal. The official DCRGA report confirmed that the Clasac project, developed by Clontarf, was properly managed and delivered in line with budget projections and that other reasons advanced by Comhaltas at the time for dissolving the branch were totally unfounded.

Clontarf would like to thank everyone, including the huge number of traditional musicians, politicians, people in the local community and so many Comhaltas members and branches for supporting us by not attending the Clasac centre.

We ask you to continue to support justice for Clontarf by not visiting Clasac until the dispute is resolved.

The manner of, and the spurious reasons for, the dissolution of Clontarf should be of concern to everyone in Comhaltas. The lessons from the way Clontarf and its members were treated are clear. It means that every member is vulnerable in an environment where levelling of unfounded allegations and malicious abuse targeted at individual members is sanctioned at the top.

It represents a complete failure of proper governance and a rejection of the most basic standards of fairness by the Ardchomhairle (governing body), the very people charged with protecting the Bunreacht and members rights. The leadership of Comhaltas has continued its campaign against Clontarf even after the branch’s unfair dissolution leaving us with no other conclusion but that it is intent on preventing facts emerging that raise very serious questions about the Ardchomhairle’s conduct and that of the Ardstiúrthóir.

Comhaltas claims that a motion adopted “unanimously” at the annual congress in May 2008 means that branches supported the actions taken against Clontarf. It is clear from the many branches in contact with Clontarf that such a motion was unknown to many of the delegates at the time, suggesting the motion was taken when very few were present. It is inconceivable that genuine branch delegates who have the interests of the organisation and members at heart can be content to be used in this manner to validate the improper actions of the leadership of Comhaltas.

The way Comhaltas dealt with Clontarf and the failure of governance must also be pursued by the Minister for Arts and Minister for Community, Equality and the Gaeltacht. They provided over €9m in public funding to develop Clasac, which now stands virtually idle, and also contribute substantial annual funding to the running costs of the centre. Ministers have put their trust in Comhaltas, a national body that has as one of its aims to represent what should be good about Irish society and local communities.

Good governance, as practiced by many other national sporting and cultural bodies, must ensure at the very least that members’ grievances must be addressed fairly and openly. The members of these organisations demand nothing less from their leadership and governing bodies. It’s time that these same standards were demanded of, and delivered by, the leadership of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.


Issued by Ceoltóirí Chluain Tarbh – 26 April 2010

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

€9m of public money…..

Time for an independent public inquiry!!

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

I’m afraid I have no interest in your feud.

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Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

There’s a crusty old man living down the road a piece and he got really tired of the three gossipy spinster ladies who visited each month from the kingdom hall of Jahovas Witnesses.
He tried everything he could think of to get rid of them.
He tried being mean, not answering the door, sending out the dog (they gave the pooch a buiscit) They wouldn’t leave him alone. He couldn’t get rid of them. So last week when they knocked on his door, he greeted them butt naked and offered them each a beer. They were horrified. I think he finally got rid of them for good.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

I can understand why many of the contributors here who live outside Ireland, might think this an obscure and irrelevant arguement.
But for those that reside here, it’s a sad and sorry tale. It has as much to do with growing expectations and the now deceased Celtic Tiger as anything else. And like other elements of that debacle there are strong political undertones with the common theme of a political party that has been in power for the last ten years or more. A recurring theme of that leadership has been plain arrogance and contempt for the ordinary public and it has shown up in many facets of society, including the above.

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Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly was the branch of Comhaltas accused of doing that violated the bunreacht?

I was living overseas when that whole situation blew up and I totally missed whatever happened.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

it is disgraceful, O Murchu should resign.

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Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

it seems "b" that whilst saying that you are not going to argue again you have no hesitation in putting up links for the so called "facts".It would be more appropiate for you to either declare that you work for Comhaltas and that you are defending your employer or stay out of it altogether. From what I know of the issue it is clear that a large percentage of people who attend classes etc in Comhaltas are appalled at what has gone on but say nothing and just use them for classes.Those who are dyed in the wool Comhaltas sycophants will defend Comhaltas.But in fact most will agree that any defence of what has gone on is in fact a defence of Labhras O’Murchu who whilst collecting a Senator’s wage also collects a wage from Comhaltas and in this day of cut backs and calls for patriotism, it is interesting to see that he has no problem in double jobbing. Not even hardened Comhaltas supporters will deny off record that his position resembles that of a dictator and any pretence that motions etc were properly discussed is just that- a pretence. The so called Bunreacht is modelled on another list, that seen on the barn wall in Animal Farm and when it comes to power in Comhaltas there is no doubt that all are equal but some are more equal than others.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

b, The facts are straightforward.
You are employed by Comhaltas and you cannot/ will not criticise your great leader - even though I know that you are a reasonable person.
Comhaltas is run on a grace and favour system. You toe the line i.e. Play along . take the decisions you are instructed to take - do not critiicise Labhras and crumbs will be thrown to you. Dare to express an opinion contrary to the party line and your out of favour. Every committee County , Provence, Ard Comhairle, etc , is packed with the yes men and women. You dare not upset the cart, for if you do that grant, or that promised whatever will not come your way.
Of course there are decent people on these committees. I know them. But they are cowed with the ovrwhelming weight and the enormity of the task of even THINKING of tackling this problem.
Most reasonably minded people in Comhaltas - an organisation of which I am a member - a proud member, are now resigned to having Labhras there for life and can now only think to a future when he will not be there. A bit like waiting for the dawn. However there are devious schemers surrounding Labhras - well of course, he put them there. You might think that this sorry situation in Comhaltas must end eventually, but no. Because younger , like minded bigots will always be groomed to perpetuate this fiefdom. But of course I agree with General Fink .. the answer is Labhras must go. Think of this. Think of all the rows and mayhem caused in Comhaltas over the years. Most LONG before my time and it can all be traced back to one person -Labhras.
Its a joke to pretend that the Ard Comhairle took the decision to dissolve the Clontarf branch. They simply rubber stamped the wish of Labhras.
Now here would be a truly courageous move. That one or two of the Ard Comhairle tell us the real story

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

Knightly has summed up CCE very well.It is run exclusively on a grace and favour basis.It reflects all that was wrong about irish society for the last 20 years.CCE has preserved its privilaged position by attacking its own members.Surely there are some members of branches and the ardchomhairle that have enough courage and decency to question the actions of the ardcomhairle.
Irish music and irish musicians deserve better than to be represented by a body with such low standards.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

If people the world over learned to keep their own side of the street clean and stopped pointing fingers at everybody else with complaints, alot to ask I know, us Americans are some of the worst about it, but, this would be a much more pleasant and happy place to be.

Respect…….. We all need to learn more about it !

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

Certainly it cannot be true that most of this organization’s members are weak, timid, frightened, browbeaten, powerless, disorganized minions yet that is how most of the members posting here are describing themselves. They seem to have bestowed on one man the status of an omnipotent, tyrannical and mythic figure then criticize him for accepting the role.

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Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

I think boatpiper, respect is important in this situation. The local branch were shown a complete lack of respect having fundraised for over fifteen years for the building of this project, to be disbanded when the building was nearly completed. To add further insult to injury they have been given no forum for any fair hearing within CCE structures. Total lack of respect for their efforts to promote traditional music in that area of Dublin for nearly 50 years.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

The thing about respect is that it is a two way street.
Give respect, get respect.
As soon as someone is disrespected, the chain of events goes the other way.
Disrespect gets thrown back and forth.
It takes the bigger person keep their dignity and show respect while being disrespected.
That’s the only way things might change.
However, " Some things will never change" …….Bruce Hornsby.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

I think most people who are regulars on the scene in Ireland will reognise ‘b’ or breanndann as just another CCE ‘small fish, small pond’ persona that CCE will gladly use to pandy about useless info on a topic that has for far too long been largely ignored by said organisation. obviously there’s not too much I.T. work to be done at monkstown judging by the prowess he’s showing on this site. Maybe a bit more education of the actual realm of traditional music might be needed but that certainly won;t be achieved at the almighty Headquarters. Say what you will ‘b’ but you know yourself how little knowledge you have on the subject and how indoctrinated the info you have is aswell so its probably best just to sit back let the sh it happen because really CCE couldnt care less either way…ignorance is bliss for them…keep the info from the public and they can’t hurt them.

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Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

I was a member of Comhaltas for more than 20 years. There were good times and bad times, but mostly bad because of Comhaltas’s obsession with making money and putting young people through ridiculous competitive hoops. I began to see that the only good in the organisation was in the music classes it laid on.

Has anybody ever asked whats happened to the money made by Bru Boru in Cashel which is run by Larry Murphys wife?

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

The main danger in the current situation is that the there is the lack of democracy in the organisation. The bunreacht has some protections in it for members but they are clearly ignored.
The Ardstiuritheoir is appointed for life and cannot be removed. The dangers are obvious. It appears that all debate is censored and no one dare disagree with the leadership .
This weakness in structures allowed all the rules to be broken by CCE in the Clontarf issue and allows the situation to continue ,even when it appears that the Minister has instructed that mediation be engaged in.
The Clontarf statement is correct when it says that no member is safe in this environment.
Irish society has rejected this type of behaviour by the Church and to a large degree by the banks and its politicians.
It is only a matter of time before CCE end up in a scandal because of the lack of proper structures in the organisation. It is an accident waiting to happen.

All the decent people in Comhaltas deserve better than this.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

I am an American one-time member of Comhaltas and have only a tenuous grasp of the situation, so forgive me if I have this wrong. Is Labhras the person who reputedly sold the rights to traditional Irish music.

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

Are they still teaching music Independantly of comhaltas?

Re: Comhaltas still refuses to discuss dispute with Clontarf

9 million is a whole lot of money…