Tuesday 20 March 2018

Minister Donohue calls for IABA statement over Billy Walsh departure

Billy Walsh
Billy Walsh
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Pascal Donohue has called on the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to issue a statement following Billy Walsh's resignation.

The top boxing coach flew to the U.S this morning under mounting speculation that he is to sign a new contract there having dramatically resigned from the IABA this week.

Walsh's departure led to comments of shock and outrage from star boxers including Katie Taylor, John Joe Nevin, and Paddy Barnes, who expressed concern that Walsh's departure could now trigger the loss too of his right-hand man, Zaur Antia.

Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy has vowed to find out the "non-financial" reasons why he resigned in his role and speaking on RTE Radio's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme, Minster Donohue has called on the IABA to issue a statement.

Earlier this week the Association said everything was done to keep the respected coach in a short statement, but have remained tight-lipped since.

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"The discussions between the IABA, Mr Walsh, Sports Ireland and my own department have been ongoing for many, many months," the Minister said.

"There is widespread dissatisfaction with regards where the matter stands now.

"This is why I think it's very important that the IABA come out publicly and give a statement on the matter.

"I think they should accept an invitation to go into the Oireachtas Committee on sport and talk about the matter publicly.

"What we need to continue to do is look at how Irish boxing wins in the long run despite the huge difficulty and issue over what has happened."

Yesterday Irish Sports Council chairman Kieran Mulvey was scathing of the role of UIABA management and indicated that funding for the sporting body would be cut if the issue wasn't resolved.

Despite such a huge loss to Irish boxing, Minister Donohue said that boxers in this country will not be the fall guys for the controversial move.

"I want to reiterate, who will not lose in all of this, is boxers in Ireland. Boxing clubs in Ireland and professional athletes."

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