Scouting Ireland has declined an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs this week.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, the committee’s chairperson, said Scouting Ireland had contacted him and the clerk of the committee to inform them it would not be attending the meeting on Wednesday.

The committee had asked the organisation to appear before it to discuss governance and child protection policy.

It follows controversy over Scouting Ireland's handling of a rape allegation against an adult volunteer.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone has announced she would be withholding funding from the organisation following the controversy.

It is understood the organisation is willing to appear before the Oireachtas committee, but will do so when an investigation into the matter by a barrister appointed by the group is completed.

Last week Chief Scout Christy McCann temporarily stepped aside from his role pending the completion of the investigation.

Three other members of the National Management Committee have also stepped aside temporarily.