Ulster Unionist Assembly Member for South Belfast Michael McGimpsey has welcomed the support of Kate Hoey MP for Sandy Row Boxing Club.
The MP who is an influential member of the Northern Ireland Select Committee attended a meeting with Michael McGimpsey on Monday to meet with officials from the boxing club who recently published a report entitled ‘Sandy Row Boxing Club: a Decade of Sectarian Abuse’. This meeting came just days before the Assembly Member arranged for officials from the club to attend the DCAL Committee and for the committee to then visit the club.”
In a statement Mr McGimpsey said, “I very much welcome the support of Kate Hoey MP for Sandy Row Boxing Club. I have long been aware of the great work being done by the club across South Belfast in promoting and nurturing the talent of young people many of whom come from the most socially deprived areas of Northern Ireland. I was shocked and disappointed to read the report into the treatment the club and it’s young boxers have faced while competing.”
“I was so concerned by the matter I had asked the DCAL Committee to not only hear the story direct from the club officials but to take the time to visit them to see the sub standard facilities the young people are being forced to endure while training.”
“I believe there needs to be immediate action taken by the Minister, Sport NI and the Amateur Boxing Association to not only address the sectarianism in the sport but to ensure young boxers from a unionist background have the opportunity to represent Great Britain. I believe the way the sport is currently organised on an All Ireland basis discriminates against young people who would not feel comfortable representing the Republic of Ireland. This would not be unusual as many sports such as football allow the young people to decide whether they compete for Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland”
In conclusion Mr McGimpsey said, “I am grateful for the support of Kate Hoey and to the DCAL Committee for taking the time to listen to Sandy Row Boxing Club. The Club is run by a group of very dedicated volunteers who are doing the best they can for young people from a disadvantaged background. I hope the DCAL Committee and the influential support the club has will ensure action from the Minister, Sport NI and the Amateur Boxing Association to ensure the club and it’s young people get the investment, support and facilities they deserve so they can compete to the very best of their ability.”