herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Political heavyweights are getting in the ring to box each other for charity

THE gloves are on for a group of politicians who are taking part in a white-collar boxing event.

Councillors and TDs will be slugging it out in the ring as opposed to the council and Dail chambers -- but it's all for a good cause.

Politicians, alongside members of the business community and gardai, are taking part in the boxing event which will see each of them fighting one another in the ring for three rounds.

Jason Bonney, volunteer with Trinity Sports and Leisure Club, Donaghmede, came up with the innovative way to raise funds after the County Dublin League -- a boxing competition for young people -- lost their sponsor this year. "The whole concept of this is that every club in Dublin is going to benefit," he said.

"We need to keep kids in the boxing clubs and off the streets.

"The likes of Bernard Dunne, Katie Taylor and the Hyland brothers are really doing a lot for the sport and I thought it was about time we got up off our backside to help the kids."

So Jason challenged politicians to throw weight behind their ideas.

"In the recession, everyone hates politicians," he explained.

"Their job is horrible -- so let's give these people a chance to show that they are ordinary people."

Cllr Neale Richmond (FG) said that that he was shamed into joining up. "A friend of mine said that he was surprised I wasn't involved especially as some of the participants had been slagging off Fine Gael for being too scared," he said. "I'm sports mad and I've always wanted to try my hand at boxing, there was a god bit of party political pride on the line.



MEDICAL

"After meeting Jason, hearing about where the money would go and how it would help so many kids in Dublin, I knew the event was far bigger than party political squabbling so I've thrown myself into it. I really want to fight someone from Fianna Fail, I guess like many people I've a bit of frustration to take out on them and if any of them fancy a go I'm ready for them."

Each participant filled in a medical questionnaire, which is passed onto a doctor for examination, and they will wear headgear and other protective gear. "I don't want anyone to get hurt or humiliated in front of their friends," Jason said. "It's a win-win situation."

The event is scheduled to take place in the Crowne Plaza, Santry, on November 26.

Cllr Aodhan O Riordain is also participating. "I decided to go back to the gym before I got married so thankfully I'm not in too bad shape. But I'm no boxer. I think that I will have to use tricks -- like run around the ring or treat it like a WWF and jump of the ropes," he laughed.

Party activists Averil Power (FF) and Donna Cooney (GP) will be flying the flag for their respective parties in the ring.

"The league gives them something to focus on," explained Averil.

"None of us have done it before. We are literally learning how to use a skipping rope.

"I started training two weeks ago. I was only a spectator before but I love being in the ring now."

And brave Fianna Fail TD Darragh O'Brien will also be stepping into the ring.

"I've never boxed in my life. My wife thinks I'm nuts. I've just been talked into it. The last thing we need is another by-election," he said.

Each participant has the aim of raising €3,000 each -- which will go towards the running of the Dublin County League.

hnews@herald.ie

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