One of Irish dancing's major world bodies has suspended 44 individuals from judging competitions and is to hold full disciplinary hearings into allegations that they were involved in wrongdoing.

The individuals have also been suspended from judging competitions while the process is ongoing.

It follows allegations earlier this year of breaches of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha code of conduct which are understood to relate to alleged competition fixing.

The allegations, which were made in October, were accompanied by supporting documentation.

In a letter sent to dance teachers this afternoon the Coimisiún said an independent investigation led and overseen by Mr Justice Michael Peart had thoroughly examined all complaints, grievances and accompanying evidence.

It said it has recommended 44 cases go forward to a full disciplinary hearing, that the individuals involved have all been informed and that the cases will be heard by an independent panel.

The letter said the recruitment for this panel is now under way.

In a statement this evening the Coimisiún said the 44 individuals have also been suspended from adjudicating responsibilities while the disciplinary process is ongoing

The development has been welcomed by some in the Irish dancing community.

Sorcha Ní Chéide, an Irish dancing teacher based in Galway, said "I was definitely shocked at the news, 44 people being investigated does seem like a lot of people.

"But I think its definitely going to be to be welcomed by teachers all over the world, in the interest of fairness for everyone involved."

A spokesman for the Minister for Culture Catherine Martin welcomed the development noting the importance of restoring public confidence in the fairness of Irish dancing competitions which he said are a key expression of Irish identity.

In its letter and its statement the Coimisiún also said it regards all allegations of wrongdoing with the utmost seriousness and says it wants to reassure members that it is fully dedicated to introducing "positive changes".

With additional reporting by Sinéad Crowley