Paulstown Boxing Club still waiting for answers

AS Olympian Darren O’ Neill departs for the London Games, his home club in Paulstown is still awaiting answers over a bid to improve facilities – due to an impasse with the local development association.

AS Olympian Darren O’ Neill departs for the London Games, his home club in Paulstown is still awaiting answers over a bid to improve facilities – due to an impasse with the local development association.

The boxing club says it is being frustrated in its attempt to build new changing facilities for female members, and now risks losing a €25,000 grant allocated for that purpose. Members have renewed their calls for a meeting with the development association in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

Paulstown Development Association chairman Ben Healy had said in May that a meeting would take place in mid-July, after the parish field day. It was suggested the issue could be put to a public vote.

However, no meeting has yet taken place, and the club managment say they have not been contacted to schedule one.

Yesterday, Mr Healy told the Kilkenny People that the meeting is unlikely to take place until after the Olympics, as a several of the parties involved will be away for a number of reasons, including holidays.

There is huge concern in the club that the money will be lost if no progress is made soon. Head coach Ollie O’ Neill says that the issue is simply being kicked further down the road.

“The field day is over now, and we took part in fundraising for that,” he said.

“It is over a year now since the grant money was allocated, I was on to two other boxing clubs – they would love to have got it. It’s very stressful. We have no toilets or showers for girls, no proper facilities.”

The club’s nine female boxers – two of whom are national champions – currently change in the toilets due to lack of private changing rooms. The Irish Amateur Boxing Association last year allocated a €25,000 grant to provide an extension with changing facilities.

But the club says that the Paulstown Development Association, which controls the community facility in which the club is based, has been obstructing progress thus far. There are real fears that the grant allocation will be withdrawn or allocated elsewhere if it is not used soon.