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18 Aug 2022

Dundalk boxers are special guests at Leinster House

Dundalk boxers are special guests at Leinster House

Boxers Amy Broadhurst, Dearbhla Tinnelly, Evelyn Igharo and Clann Naofa boxing clubcoach Jim O'Neil alongside Louth Sinn Fein TD Ruairí Ó Murchú at Leinster House

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald admitted that TDs were ‘a bit starstruck’ meeting Dundalk champion boxers Amy Broadhurst, Dearbhla Tinnelly and Evelyn Igharo when they visited Leinster House last week.

The three young women were special guests of Dundalk Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú last Tuesday, who hosted a meet and greet event for the boxers, and coach Jim O’Neill from Clann Naofa in Muirhevnamor, before organising a tour of Leinster House for them.

The champions were in the public gallery for the first Leaders’ Questions of the week and heard Deputy McDonald and Taoiseach Michéal Martin give them a warm welcome.

Deputy McDonald said:

“We have three boxing champions in the public gallery whom I wish to welcome and acknowledge.

“Amy Broadhurst is the IBA light welterweight champion of the world; Dearbhla Tinnelly is the youth light heavyweight European champion and Evelyn Igharo is the current Irish elite champion at 70 kg.

“They are joined by coach Jim O'Neill from the Clann Naofa boxing club in Muirhevnamor in Dundalk.

“These women are trailblazers. They were around the House and members met them and we were all a bit starstruck.

“Well done and keep at it.”

In response, An Taoiseach said:

“I join in welcoming and congratulating our boxing heroes, Amy, Dearbhla and Evelyn.

“Boxing has brought great honour to Irish sport throughout the decades and continues to do so.

“We pay tribute to the coaching fraternity and our boxing community.

“Well done to Jim O'Neill and his team.

“It is fantastic the degree to which young people are encouraged and nurtured through the great sport of boxing.”

Speaking afterwards, Deputy Ó Murchú said:

“I was delighted when Amy, Dearbhla, Evelyn and Jim accepted my invitation to come to Leinster House and to meet with TDs and senators.

“Everyone was delighted to meet them and get their pictures taken with them.

“What they have achieved is incredible and they have put Dundalk on the map in a really positive way.

“But there is work to be done, the Dundalk women told TDs, around how boxers are funded.

“We know the improvements that need to be made to funding mechanisms for up and coming fighters as well as the governance changes that are required at association level.”

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