TD calls for garda probe into bareknuckle boxing
BAREKNUCKLE boxing as highlighted in the movie Knuckle should be investigated by gardai and Revenue, TD Charlie Flanagan said.
The traditional form of fighting and betting on the sport is illegal in Ireland.
But the industry is big business for many Traveller families and those who wager money on the events, as revealed in Knuckle, the award-winning documentary about Traveller boxing which was broadcast on RTE last night.
Hundreds of thousands of euro was wagered on the contests highlighted in the film.
Laois-Offaly TD Mr Flanagan described the sport as "unacceptable brutality".
"I feel the Revenue should investigate. I also feel there are welfare issues here," he said. "There are huge amounts of disposable income during an unprecedented economic recession.
"There are issues here that should be the subject of a garda investigation," he added. "The scenes of unacceptable brutality should be appropriately investigated."
And he called on an investigation to be launched by gardai and by Revenue to ensure that the individuals are tax compliant.
The winners of the vicious fights, and those who bet on it, stand to receive a significant payout.
Representatives for An Garda Siochana said that they wouldn't comment on whether or not an investigation was taking place as the individuals are clearly identified in the programme.
Revenue representatives and Travellers' representative group Pavee Point were unavailable to comment at the time of going to print.
The documentary, which has cleaned up at international film festivals, follows James Quinn McDonagh and his younger brother Michael as they fight for their reputations and the honour of their family.
The producers are now looking to develop the concept overseas and want to travel to the US.
"The Knuckle team of James Quinn McDonagh and director Ian Palmer are pleased to announce that we are planning a tour of America at the beginning of March 2012," they announced online.
"We are looking to talk to American Traveller bare-knuckle fighters and their families.
"If you are an Irish, English, Scottish or Gypsy Traveller and you fight or you know about feuding and fighting among Travellers in America then contact us. We want to meet you while we are in the US."