Fighting talk from Ring in defence of boxing funding
Government has done ‘very well’ to protect sports funding
Sinn Féin spokeswoman Sandra McLellan noted that Paddy Barnes, Ireland’s two-time Olympic medallist, (pictured) had stated that, without more money, Irish boxing was going nowhere. He had claimed that boxers were training “in a 1970s gym more or less and everything has to be modernised’’. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring defended the Government’s funding of amateur boxing.
He said the Irish Amateur Boxing Association was one sporting organisation which could not complain.
“When I came into office in 2011 the Government allocated €1.2 million to make sure facilities could be upgraded nationwide. This year boxing received an additional €1 million apart from the money it receives from the Irish Sports Council. ’’
Sinn Féin spokeswoman Sandra McLellan noted that Paddy Barnes, Ireland’s two-time Olympic medallist, had stated that, without more money, Irish boxing was going nowhere. He had claimed that boxers were training “in a 1970s gym more or less and everything has to be modernised’’.
She asked how Mr Ring intended to ensure that high performance programmes, such as the boxing programme, would not struggle but continue to support key athletes.
Mr Ring said he wished Paddy Barnes, who was turning professional, the best of luck.
“Moreover, I hope he does as well as a professional boxer as he did with the Irish Sports Council, because he has received a substantial amount of money from taxpayers.’’
He said he knew of people in many parts of the country who had turned professional and he was unsure how they would do.
“Nevertheless, I wish him the very best of luck,’’ Mr Ring added. “He did his country proud and we were delighted with him.’’
Mr Ring said the allocation to the council had been cut by 3 per cent, but the overall funding for sport had been increased this year.
He said the Government had allocated €23 million for the sports capital programme; €10.3 million for the local authority swimming pool programme, and €15.9 million for the national sports campus, as well as €1.74 million in current expenditure. The council would receive €42,496,000.
“Overall, the total amounts to €93 million, which is the greatest amount of money that has gone into sport,’’ said Mr Ring.
“These are difficult economic times and yet the Government has done very well to protect sports funding.’’