Wednesday 28 June 2017

Brothers 'turfed out boxers' after €15,000 spent on club

ALISON O'RIORDAN

A DUBLIN city centre boxing club is claiming that, after spending €15,000 on renovations to a run-down school hall, they are now being 'turfed out' by their Christian Brothers landlords.

The row that broke out over the use of the hall in St Paul's Christian Brothers School in Dublin city centre has left the 60 boxers of Smithfield Amateur Boxing Club "homeless".

Brian Daly, club secretary and coach of the junior squad said: "We are a voluntary organisation and to spend €15,000 doing up a room that we were only in for two years has crippled the club, it has left us homeless.

"The school went ahead and locked us out and alerted us by sending us a letter.

When the club started using the room, it was in poor condition, said Mr Daly.

"The dilapidated state of the clubhouse meant that it required electricity, re-wiring, plastering of walls and the roof needed fixing due to dampness," he said.

The boxing club then carried out renovation work to make it fir for the young boxers, including installing a new boxing ring.

Angry protests are held outside the school every Monday at 6pm -- and even Olympic champion Kenny Egan has joined supporters of the club.

"We were told in a letter that the school principal who had given us the permission was due to retire, and secondly the head of the board of management told us he couldn't give an outside group permanent use."

Kenny Egan interview page 12

However, according to the principal of St Paul's Primary School, it was originally intended the club would only use the room for the school year ending June 2008, but this period had been extended for the boxers and trainers.

"St Paul's Primary School North Brunswick Street permitted a local boxing club to use a room within the school for the year to June 2008.

"The school then sought vacant possession so that it could establish a special needs facility in the room. As the boxing club had installed equipment in the room, the school extended permission for a further year to let the club find other premises.

"The school made it clear it must have vacant possession before the new school year began in September 2009," said Ferdia Kelly, chairperson of the Board of Management.

The situation was compounded in April 2010 as the toilet facilities in the building were no longer fit for use.

According to Mr Kelly, the club was told it could no longer continue to use the building on 'health and safety' grounds and they must vacate it but the club refused on both occasions.

The school has now asked the boxing club to appear before the board in September to put a case to get some of its money back.

Sunday Independent

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