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Judges’ committee revolt over council decision


THE IRISH Kennel Club has suffered a further dispute just weeks after the club was questioned by the Irish Competitions Authority. this was for ‘interfering’ in the staging of the German Shepherd Association’s annual Sieger Show in breach of monopoly and free competition rules but now the club faces further disruption as several members of the Green Star Committee – which advises the main council on the appointment of judges – have threatened to resign.

The dispute arose recently over the appointment of Jennifer Kealy as a Green Star status (Championship level) judge. Miss Kealy, 25, is the daughter of Susan Kealy, herself a director of the IKC Ltd. and the Ard Comhairle representative for the Airedale Terrier breed. The Kealy family have bred and exhibited Airedale Terriers under the Kealdale prefix for many years although, until relatively recently, all the Kealdale progeny have been registered under the names of Mrs Kealy and her husband.

Active

Dogs have only been registered under Jennifer’s name for the past two and half years, even though she has been an active part of the family’s canine activities, and handled several of their dogs as a Junior Handler.

The IKC recently introduced the ‘seven year rule’ whereby anyone seeking appointment as a Green Star level judge must have owned dogs – i.e. had them registered in their name – for seven years or more.

This rule was brought to bear at a recent meeting of the Green Star Committee when Miss Kealy’s appointment as a Green Star level judge was discussed. The committee heard that Miss Kealy had been invited to judge at the Dublin Dog Show on December 27th this year, a Green Star show. Although Miss Kealy qualified as a lower grade judge, having fulfilled the IKC rules insofar as she had attended the requisite twelve seminars and had judged two Limited IKC shows and a UK Kennel Club Open Show, she would need to be confirmed as a Green Star level judge in order to officiate at the Dublin Show.

However, she did not met the IKC’s criteria on the ‘seven years ownership’ rule, as Kealdale dogs had only been registered in her name for the past two and half years.

After discussing the matter and assessing Miss Kealy’s obvious past experience, the Green Star Committee decided to recommend to the IKC’s Governing Council – the Ard Comhairle – that she should NOT be appointed as a Green Star judge. Under IKC rules, the Green Star Committee can only make recommendations on judging appointments, whereas it is the Ard Comhairle who decides whether to accept or reject these recommendations.

The AC decided to reject the Green Star Committee’s recommendation and instead to confirm Miss Kealy as a Green Star level judge, as she quite patently fulfilled all the other necessary criteria, whereas the ‘seven year’ registration of dogs in her own name was a minor – and easily explained – point.

Threatened

It is understood that a number of members of the Green Star Committee reacted angrily to the AC’s decision and threatened to tender their resignations. The Chairman of the Green Star Committee, Wendy Jackson, who is also Press Officer of the IKC, apparently refused to accept the resignations, but agreed that the AC’s decision would be discussed at the next Green Star Committee ruling.

Susan Kealy spoke to OUR DOGS about the matter, on her daughter’s behalf. "Susan started judging in 1999 under the old IKC guidelines and has proved herself to be a competent judge," said Mrs Kealy. "She was invited to judge at the Dublin Dog Show in December.

Obviously, to do so, she needed to have Green Star status. She fulfils all the requirements of being a judge, except for the seven-year rule, because until the past couple of years, all of our dogs have been registered under my name and my husband’s name. Jennifer now has dogs registered under her name, but she has been a full and active member of the Kealdale operation since she was a child.

"Under the IKC rules, a Lower level judge must have had dogs registered in their own names for four years, but even so, she was allowed to bypass that requirement, because of her knowledge and experience. It seems that the Green Star Committee were not prepared to do likewise under the seven-year rule and recommended that she should not be a Green Star judge. However, it is the AC decided on appointments, and indeed, the AC overturned the Green Star Committee’s recommendation and have appointed Jennifer as a judge.

"Jennifer is quite relieved at this decision and is ready to judge at the Dublin Show and any other Green Star shows she may be invited to judge. As to some members of the Green Star Committee threatening to resign over this issue, I feel that this is very much an over-reaction."

It is understood that the Green Star Committee have previously allowed another aspiring judge to by-pass the seven-year rule. Mrs Maud Orr has shown Rottweilers for many years, but all the dogs have been registered in her husband’s name. However, this proved no bar to the Green Star Committee recommending to the AC that Mrs Orr should be appointed as a Green Star level judge. In this case, the AC accepted the recommendation.

Despite numerous attempts to contact Wendy Jackson, the IKC Press Officer, OUR DOGS received no comment from Mrs Jackson or the IKC office on this matter at the time of going to press presumably as a result of the pressure on officers’ time and the Munster Circuit shows.