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Minister for Sport says Kinahan cartel is 'toxic force' in pro boxing world

It comes after 600 people with suspected links to the Kinahan cartel were banned from entering the US
Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Eoghan Moloney and Neasa Cumiskey

The Minister for Sport has said that Daniel Kinahan and his family have been a "toxic force" in the world of professional boxing.

Jack Chambers was speaking after Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll said that up to 600 people with suspected links to the Kinahan cartel were banned from entering the US, including a number involved with professional boxing.

Mr Chambers said that while he doesn't have the "specific detail around what individuals are on the list," he fully welcomes the sanctions.

“The Kinahans have been a toxic force in professional boxing and I absolutely welcome the cooperation between An Garda Síochána, Assistant Commissioner O’Driscoll, and the US Customs and Border Protection," he said on Today With Claire Byrne.

“I think it’s important that anyone who has links to the Kinahans is isolated and alienated from sport. They should have no role in professional boxing.

“I welcome the strong cooperation between the US and Ireland and many other countries to isolate the Kinahans," he added.

Mr Chambers later said that the sport of amateur boxing in Ireland will suffer “immediate and severe financial consequences” if it does not implement recommendations from an independent report following the resignation of High Performance Unit director Bernard Dunne.

Jack Chambers of Fianna Fáil. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Jack Chambers of Fianna Fáil. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Mr Dunne resigned from his role last week following a complaint he made to IABA about an unsigned SWOT analysis critical of his performance which was circulated just before the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The organisation must “fully embrace and adopt” the recommendations of the report if it wishes to avoid financial penalties, the Minister said.

The sport of boxing in Ireland has “serious issues” and is a “mess”, Mr Chambers said. He also said Bernard Dunne was owed an apology by “certain people in boxing” and would welcome any move that would return Bernard Dunne to his position.

“I would love to see the door open for Bernard Dunne to return,” Mr Chambers told RTÉ listeners.

The person that circulated the anonymous memo of Mr Dunne’s performance review before Tokyo 2020 “should be gone,” the Minister said.

“The anonymous and malicious document, right before the Olympics, undermining Bernard Dunne’s performance unit was frankly a disgrace. They [the author(s)] need to be isolated and removed from running boxing.

“You cannot have individuals on a board or a council selecting who is going to be on a particular team,” the minister said.

Bernard Dunne is the third such High Performance Director to vacate his position due to grievances of interference from within the IABA.

Part of the conflict within the IABA comes from the desire of what the IABA calls "a small cohort of the Irish boxing family" to see the selection of Team Ireland boxers for international competition made by people other than high performance staff, Billy Walsh said. Mr Walsh also resigned from the role in 2015 and said it was “crazy” that the same issues still linger within the IABA.

Minister Chambers agreed that change is needed within the amateur boxing ranks.

“It’s clear there are very serious issues in boxing and it’s a mess, quite frankly.

“You have this constant internal conflict which is undermining boxing, overall. I’m very clear, as Minister for Sport, about what I want to see happen. There’s going to be an EGM next month where there will be an opportunity for boxing as an organisation to fully embrace the recommendations that have been set out in the independent review.

“I’ve been very clear that we can’t, and won’t, fund behaviour like this and governance dysfunction. I want to see boxing fully adopt and embrace all the recommendations in the McNiece review.

“I’m clear we won’t be seeing this constant continuity of battles and internal conflicts being fought,” Minister Chambers said.

Mr Chambers said boxing has a choice to make next month about its future and there will be financial consequences and it will affect IABA’s core funding if they do not reform as set out in the McNiece report.

Those who “undermined Bernard Dunne and tried to undermine Billy Walsh in the past need to be “isolated and removed,” the minister said.

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