Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport And Media
Governance in Irish Athletic Boxing Association: Discussion
Mr. Ciaran Kirwan:
That is a very good question, but it is a point that is not unique to boxing. It relates to any sport. I refer to the difficulty in the GAA between club players and elite county players, or in the IRFU between the clubs in the rugby league compared with the provinces. I think I know the point the Senator is making. It is one of the reasons club members may feel a certain disconnect. We have more than 360 clubs. They tend not to be very large clubs. Most are small and thinly spread clubs with small membership bases. We have approximately 1,600 coaches across the island but the reality is that most of them will not have the privilege or pleasure of coaching an athlete to elite level.
An important point I wish to highlight is that the success of our elite athletes repays us in leaps and bounds by bringing in children who would not otherwise join our association. Ours is a minority sport. It is not the most popular sport in the country by a long shot. However, to have local heroes such as Kellie Harrington and Emmet Brennan - you can go right through the country listing such athletes; they are not just in Dublin - is what attracts people to the sport. These athletes are local and they are rooted in their communities and clubs.