‘Blessed are the peacemakers’: Bernard Dunne settles employment dispute with IABA

Particulars of dispute between Irish boxing body and former champion fighter not heard at WRC

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has settled an employment rights dispute with its former high-performance director Bernard Dunne.

The deal was reached after last-minute talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Wednesday, where a public hearing into a statutory complaint by the former super bantamweight champion boxer was set to open.

“The legal teams have requested a brief deferral of commencing this hearing for reasons that will probably become clear later,” adjudicating officer Pat Brady told the complainant, who appeared by video-link from China at 12.45pm.

“I’m currently in China so my time difference is quite large, I’m seven hours ahead,” Mr Dunne told the adjudicator.


“I’m conscious of that, can you log out and log back in again?” the adjudicator asked.

“Bernard ... I’m going to give you a phone call, it’s likely we’re going to defer this for about an hour,” said Mr Dunne’s barrister, Seamus Collins BL, who was instructed by Kean’s Solicitors.

“Okay, go raibh maith agat,” Mr Dunne said.

“Blessed are the peacemakers. I was wondering how far we’d make it before using boxing metaphors,” Mr Brady said.

After a one hour recess the parties returned to the hearing room, where counsel for the IABA, Mark Harty SC, said: “We have achieved a consensus.”

“Has my benediction of the peacemakers brought you to a state of grace?” Mr Brady asked.

“We have achieved grace,” Mr Harty said.

“A settlement has been reached,” said Mr Collins.

A four-week adjournment for the implementation of the settlement agreement, with liberty to re-enter the matter, was granted.

Mr Brady said the WRC would close its file on October 13th by default in the absence of further communication from the parties.

“I took the liberty of bringing down the relevant form,” Mr Brady said.

The withdrawal papers were signed in the presence of the adjudicator by representatives for Mr Dunne and the IABA.

“Well done everybody. I met my doctor at a sports event recently – he said I hope not to see you soon. This is one of those situations where it’s not an insult to say I hope not to see you. We stand technically adjourned,” Mr Brady said.

No particulars of Mr Dunne’s complaint against the IABA, nor the exact statute under which it was lodged, were made public at the hearing.

Mr Dunne, who retired from professional competition in 2010, was the national amateur association’s high-performance director until his resignation in May of last year.

He was appointed to the same position by the Indian boxing association last autumn and, according to a recent press report, is presently at a training camp in China preparing his new employer’s boxers for the Asian Games later this month.