The Irish Countrywomen's Association complains about drunken depravity at the Fleadh Cheoil in Cashel.

The ICA have complained about the drunkenness and bad conduct of visitors at this year's Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann held in Cashel and say they will do everything in their power to prevent it being held there again

This was the Tipperary town’s first time to host the annual event, a weekend-long festival of traditional music which combines competitions, sessions, parades and céilíthe, organised by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ).

The Fleadh Cheoil is a major financial benefit for any host town and it is estimated that approximately a quarter of a million pounds is generated wherever the venue.

Unfortunately one detrimental aspect of the festival which has been causing controversy in recent years is the type of behaviour exhibited by some who attend it.

The Cashel ICA, who are supporters of Irish culture and music, have issued strongly worded letters of condemnation to the press about the conduct of some people at the event, which took place from 31 May to Monday 2nd June.

Sheila Crowe, press officer for the local branch of the ICA says the people of Cashel did not know what they were letting themselves in for when the decision was made to host the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

Littering and drunkenness were identified as the main problems, she claims, as the streets were strewn with broken bottles and intoxicated visitors slept where they fell.

The real issue for the ICA is what Mrs Crowe and fellow Countrywomen’s Association witnessed, which was

Debauchery and depravity.

Only one newspaper article covering the Fleadh commented on the alleged drunkenness and hedonism that took place, and the Cashel ICA want to set the record straight,

We felt truthful reporting was not coming out from what was going on in Cashel.

Labhrás Ó Murchú, National President of CCÉ has heard allegations of this sort before, but maintains that the Fleadh was a success.

While some people overindulged in alcohol, the alleged antisocial behaviour was perpetrated by a small minority,

I don’t deny for a moment that you have certain things happening at Fleadhanna Cheoil that we wish weren’t happening there...

Leaving the issues of debauchery and depravity to the clergy, he praises Cashel Urban Council for their cleaning operation. The expected crowds of 30,000 which were due to attend the Fleadh resulted in the ratio of Gardaí increasing accordingly to 400, which is normal for this type of event.

The ICA has also claimed that 248 people required First Aid over the weekend, and were treated by the Red Cross. Surely this indicates that the Fleadh was not all it should be, and these ladies do in fact have a point? Labhrás Ó Murchú does not agree,

I don’t accept this as being any indication whatever that these things that the ICA claim to have happened have happened at the Fleadh Cheoil are true...

This report for ‘Newsbeat’ was broadcast on 24 June 1969. The reporter is Michael Ryan.