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Sports Minister Jack Chambers calls on IABA to engage with Sport Ireland on implementation of governance review


Minister for Sport Jack Chambers

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers

Minister for Sport Jack Chambers

In the wake of the resignation of the IABA’s top two officials, Minister for Sport Jack Chambers has called on the organisation to engage with Sport Ireland on how the governance review of the sport can be implemented.

The decision of the IABA clubs to overwhelming reject one of the key recommendation in the report last month led by the decision of IABA Board chairman Ciarán Kirwan and chief executive Fergal Carruth to quit last night.

In a statement the Minister said that once that engagement between the IABA and Sport Ireland begins he is available to assist.

Sport Ireland’s funding to the IABA has already been cut by 15 percent and they face further funding sanctions next months unless they can represent a plan to implement a range of reform packages.

“I have been very clear that the Government wants to support the boxing community and to enable the sport to grow and prosper. However, best practice within the ring has to be matched by governance excellence if State support of, and funding to, the sport is to be maximised," said Chambers.

“This is consistent with our approach to all sports in the context of the National Sports Policy and the Government’s consistent expansion of funding to the sports sector in Ireland.”

The Minister expressed thanks to both men for their services to the sport.

“Both of them have shown tremendous resolve and dedication in striving to grow and develop the sport of boxing across the island of Ireland. In that time, the numbers involved in the sport of boxing have grown very significantly, and the growth in female participation has been especially heartening," said Chambers.

“There has been sustained success at elite international level too and I am convinced that there is further huge potential within boxing from grassroots to the elite level.

“In resigning, both men refer to the ongoing debates within boxing about governance standards within the sport and I hope that IABA will soon be able to engage with Sport Ireland on this important area for the future development of the sport.”

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Speaking on Morning Ireland, the chief executive of Sport Ireland Una May indicated they would consider appointing a new independent chairman to the Board if there was an absence of action from the remaining board members.

Following the departure of Ciarán Kirwan, the board is now entirely make up of IABA officials including the newly-elected president Gerry O’Mahony and one representative from each of the four provinces.

The board held its first in-person meeting since the EGM in Roscommon last night. Members had no prior knowledge that the chairman and the chief executive would be tendering their resignations at the meeting.

Ms May said it was not the first preference of Sport Ireland to get involved in financial sanctions. She said they are ‘more than happy to support and guide’ the IABA any way they can.

“Recently we have met multiple times with the leadership of the organisation. It is very important for us to have a strong leadership. We do have our communications and collaborations. We are open for business to support wherever we can,” she said.

She added Kirwan and Carruth were not the source of the problems within the organisation adding that Sport Ireland has a ‘high regard’ for both men.

She pointed out the board themselves commissioned the recent governance report in relation to report knowing that as an organisation they had some challenges.

“So, this report was actually commissioned by the Board of the IABA. They report made 64 recommendations many of which are very straight forward and basic,” added May.

She conceded that others are more "difficult for some of the members to accept."

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