Swords Boxing Club are once again hitting the campaign trail to attempt to extend their offering to the local community.
The club have been trying tirelessly to expand their facilities, but they are currently overloaded at just 35 members. A waiting list of people that three times that number is waiting to join the club, on the back of the success of Team Ireland heroes Katie Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon at the London Games.
Just last month, it was reported that the club had been forced to turn away girls from its doors due to a lack of facilities that would allow for separate changing rooms, something that founder John Sheppard has campaigned endlessly for.
“It’s getting to the stage where we are going to have do something. There’s a huge demand for women’s boxing, so we’re looking to make an agreement with a local hotel or bar. It’s not ideal, but we have no other option,” said Sheppard.
The hope that the club could move from their three small rooms in Carnegie Library to a bigger complex was taken away last week when the Fingal County Council decided that a boxing ring would be “unsuitable” for use in a shared facility, as it would intrude on other sports using the facility.
Sheppard has gone on record to say that the club could at least triple its numbers overnight if they were to get a new facility, and all involved with the club are growing frustrated with the amount of children they have to turn away from what they consider to be a positive outlet for local youth.
“We provide this fantastic outlet for free, and it’s for a lot of children who slip through the cracks of the team aspect of football, hurling, soccer and the likes. They come up here and thrive.
“Of course, we get a lot of lads who come in from different sports and they’re great too. But for some lads, it’s huge to be able to come down here and train. We’d like more kids to be able to get that outlet,” said Sheppard.
With the growing demand for the expansion or development of new facilities for the club, Cllr Darragh Butler released a statement about the progress toward the club’s goal.
“We are working with the council to try and come up with an alternative facility. They came close to [accessing] one of the community centres last year, but it is pretty specialist in what is required and to share facilities.
“I know everyone involved must be getting frustrated because it is a great sport. We have not just seen what has been achieved at the Olympics but in terms of it being a valuable interest for children who aren’t interested in team sports, it gives them another outlet.
“I’d like to think I’m doing everything possible to help the council come up with some alternatives. It is frustrating. Where they are isn’t really suitable, but I want to reassure them that we are always in the background thinking about them. We are trying to do our best in that regard,” he concluded.