Monday 25 March 2019

Pete Taylor refutes allegation boxing club is in rental arrears

Pete Taylor
Pete Taylor
Bray boxing club on the morning of June 5.

Mary Fogarty

Pete Taylor has responded to reports that Bray Boxing Club is in more than €9,000 rental arrears with Wicklow County Council.

He said in a series of Tweets that the matter of rent has been in legitimate dispute since it was increased from €200 to €2,500 per month in 2014. Taylor also criticized the council for prohibiting access to the club for more than 50 club members.

On the morning of June 5, a gunman entered the club and fatally shot Bobby Messett. Pete Taylor sustained a gunshot wound to the arm, and a third man was shot in the leg. In the aftermath of the shooting, the council took possession of the building.

'Days after the shooting occurred, Bray Town Council undertook the... act of changing the locks of premises while I was hospitalised and have failed to provide keys despite our desire to continue running the club which has operated in Bray since 1996,' Pete wrote on Twitter. 'Three months later (the council) has failed to restore the building for use as a sports facility and provide access to its tenant, Bray Boxing Club. We have more than 50 members of the club - kids, teens and adults, that have fallen victim to the illegal and cowardly acts of both the gunman and council who have deprived the members of their training facilities.

'In September 2017 Bray Boxing Club responded to queries raised by the council relating to the operation of the club and confirmed, subject to agreed terms including rent, a willingness to enter into a formal lease,' wrote Pete. 'Nothing further was heard from the council until June 7 2018.

'The council proposed almost a 600 per cent rent increase after the facility was improved by the Department of Sport following the club's success in the Olympics.

'Contrary to the council's beliefs that I was operating Bray boxing club outside the terms of the sports grant, a solicitor for the council said he could not find anything to support the contention that I was in breach of the terms,' added Pete.

In records obtained by the Sunday Times after freedom of information requests, it emerged that the council has been pursuing Bray Boxing Club for the sum of €9,533. The council maintains that Pete Taylor has not paid rent since the club's 2014 renovation and that the club was operating outside of the terms of the sport grant used for that €190,000 project. The market rent on the harbour property would now be €14,000 per month. In files released under the freedom of information request, it was revealed that officials believed the premises was being operated as a 'pay-as-you-go' gym and not a community facility, but the council's law agent said he could not find anything to support that.

Wicklow County Council said in a statement that it did not have any further comment to make on the FOI information.

Bray People