Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin has said she will write to An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG) to make sure every step possible is taken to restore confidence in competitive Irish dance.

The minister was speaking after the coimisiún, which is one of the major bodies responsible for competitive Irish dance, said it had received allegations, with supporting documentation, of several grievous breaches of its code of conduct.

It is understood the breaches in question relate to allegations of competition fixing.

The CLRG said it had engaged a former judge to oversee an investigation into the matter.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Minister Martin said her department has no regulatory or funding role in the competitions but that the very least people can expect for their children or young people is that they would be treated fairly.

Irish dancing is an integral part of Ireland's cultural heritage here and worldwide, she said.

The minister welcomed the fact there was a retired judge investigating the matter and said she would be writing to the organisation involved to seek assurances they are taking every step necessary.

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Culture Imelda Munster said the accusations have put the reputation of Irish dancing at risk not just here, but across the world.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Ms Munster said she will write to the chair of the Oireachtas Arts and Culture Committee to request that the controversy can be discussed as early as next week.

She described the allegations as serious and alarming in their nature and welcomed the investigations into competition fixing which are now underway.

"In any competitive sport or activity, people should be able to expect transparency and fairness and it's not fair on any child who attends a Feis and gives it their all that they would not be given an equal and fair chance in any competition," she said.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Justice has said people need to have confidence in any type of events and competitions.

Helen McEntee said a judge has been now appointed to conduct a report into the allegations and she will await the outcome of that report.

She said whatever the outcome of the report, she was sure there would be actions taken afterwards.

In a statement, the CLRG said any member found to be engaged in such practices will be subject to due and full process under its disciplinary procedures.

Director of the Arts Council Maureen Kennelly described the allegations in relation to competitive Irish dance as "shocking".

She said the council does not fund competitions but does support some traditional dance and said its work with dance is infused with a sense of equality, diversity and justice.

Additional reporting Joan O'Sullivan