Sports stars support boxing club in hunt for a permanent home
THE Esker Amateur Boxing Club faces being left without a club house by next summer.
Ed Griffin, founder of the club, has said they "can't continue" to fork out €1,000 in rent and bills every month.
Some 100 boxers train with the club, which was formed four years ago. They will soon host Ireland's only all-female fight night.
Mr Griffin said that the group would certainly be able to attract more members if they had new premises. At the moment the club is based in a unit in an industrial estate and the electricity is powered by a generator.
"It wouldn't be safe to let younger trainers to take classes or sessions if we're not there," he said.
Earlier this year, Esker ABC was awarded a €25,000 grant to upgrade their club facilities - but because they couldn't secure a five-year lease they were not eligible for the money from the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.
Mr Griffin has begun to petition South Dublin County Council to help them secure a new premises.
This help could come in the form of allowing the club to use part of a local community centre, or by purchasing a building and then leasing it back to the club.
"We just want their help in some way," Mr Griffin said.
The club has been given an equipment grant from the council which Mr Griffin said was helpful, but not enough.
In September, the Esker ABC club members will picket the offices of South Dublin County Council during their monthly meeting. They have planned to picket the meetings every month until they make progress.
The campaign has attracted some well-known supporters along the way.
Footballer Niall Quinn posed for a picture with the banner that the club have been using at protests to highlight their troubles securing an affordable premises.
Meanwhile, Olympic boxer Kenny Egan, who sits as a Fine Gael councillor on SDCC, has also lent his support to the campaign.
"All local councillors are united and hope to try and allocate funding for a permanent home for Esker ABC," Mr Egan told the Herald.
Esker ABC have commended the support from several local reps on the council.
On Friday, September 25, the two-day event the Esker All Female Box-Cup will kick off, bringing dozens of fighters from all over the country to the village.
A spokesperson for South Dublin County Council said that they have engaged with Esker ABC since it was first established.
"In more recent times, the club has made representations to the Council requesting it to provide premises," the council said in a statement.
"While the Council has, in the past, provided grants to clubs and currently operates a substantial community support fund, we do not provide complete funding solutions to individual clubs.
"We have communicated this to the club and advised it of its funding options - including Council grant schemes, the National Sports Capital Programme (administered by the Department of Sport) and the National Irish Amateur Boxing Federation," they added.