THE president of the Cork County Boxing Board (CCBB) has said a derelict building in Mahon – which is now being used as a drug den – could have been used to house a local boxing club eight years ago.
The highly successful Loughmahon Boxing Club were forced to stop competing last year as they could not find a permanent premises.
Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) rules stipulate that clubs must have a venue in which to train out of.
The derelict building on Skehard Road in Mahon, which was identified as a drug den by Cllr Chris O'Leary in last Saturday's Evening Echo, had been requested by the club as a site for training just under a decade ago.
Mick O'Brien, CCBB president and a member of Loughmahon Boxing Club, said it's a shame to see the former Abode disability care building in such a state when there is a solution waiting for it.
“A bylaw in [IABA] rules says you can not compete if you don't have a premises. Last year, Loughmahon were Cork's most successful club but success doesn't guarantee survival because we don't have a premises. Eight years ago, I wrote to Cork City Council about that building and contacted each of the local councillors about it,” he said.
Mr O'Brien added the response he got from City Council was that the building had been earmarked for use as a library.
“Shame on City Council to allocate a premises such as that for the purpose of a library when they have no funding or enthusiasm and to let it go to wreck and ruin and, paradoxically, a club could be down there and they could be providing a service to the community...yet we see a situation like this highlighted on the front page of the local paper.
“We'd certainly have drawn down funding from the IABA for a building on that site once we had the land.
“It's practically knocked to the ground now, it's in really bad condition but if it was earmarked in our direction we could propel a lot of manpower into it and, voluntarily, clubs would come together and support [Loughmahon] club. If it was earmarked for us, we would move straight away.”
Currently, the floors of the building are covered on broken glass and wires are hanging from the ceilings, while drug paraphernalia is strewn across the floor.
Councillor O' Leary told the Evening Echo last Saturday that he worried about what might happen if the building is not secured.
“My fear is that someone will die in this building. I don’t want to wake up to find that a body has been found, or told that kids have become contaminated from needles or bloodstained tissues. Children play in this building all the time. The front is secured but they get in through other ways and that could cause major problems,” he said.