Ulster Unionist Culture Arts & Leisure spokesperson Michael McGimpsey has accused the Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin of not being across her brief following answers she gave earlier this week at Stormont regarding Sandy Row Boxing Club.
The South Belfast MLA said;
“At Tuesday’s Question Time in the Chamber the DCAL Minister Caral Ni Chuilin was asked what steps she is taking to extend the work of the child protection in sport unit to the arts and culture sectors and specifically whether or not she accepted that the Sandy Row Boxing Club performed the necessary requirements as regards Access Northern Ireland and whether or not this has been verified by the NSPCC?
I was bemused by the Minister’s response in which she said “I am not aware that the IABA disaffiliated Sandy Row boxing club”. In reality the Minister must be well aware of this because the issue of disaffiliation has been debated at Stormont and officials from her Department have been in discussions on this very issue with Sport NI.
Sandy Row Boxing Club followed instructions from the Boxing Authorities that they should be compliant with Access NI in terms of child protection policies. The Club contacted the NSPCC and ensured that they were Access NI compliant and this was confirmed by an NSPCC Inspector at a recent DCAL Committee meeting, in response to a question from my colleague Robin Swann.
In other words, the decision by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) to throw the Club out because they did not meet child protection policies was spurious and had more to do with the Club’s highlighting of the disgraceful sectarian abuse suffered by the Club and the young people it was accused of not protecting.
Rather than pretend she has no knowledge of events, the Minister must take steps to assist the victims in all of this, namely the Sandy Row Boxing Club and ensure that the IABA are forced to account for their actions and also top ensure that the Sandy Row Club receives its fair share of funding from the taxpayer.”