Government did not offer to help pay for Katie Taylor homecoming fight, Dáil told

Taylor takes on England’s Chantelle Cameron in a bid to become an undisputed two-weight world champion at the 3Arena on Saturday night

The Government did not offer financial assistance to the Katie Taylor fight, Minister for Sport Thomas Byrne has said.

Mr Byrne said he met with the promoters of the fight but that “there was no offer of Government funding arising out of that particular exchange”.

Katie Taylor will fight English super-lightweight Chantelle Cameron at the 3Arena on Saturday night. In her first professional fight in Ireland, the 2012 Olympic lightweight champion will attempt to become an undisputed two-weight world champion.

The minister was responding to Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward in the Dáil on Thursday, who said his understanding was that the Department of Sport offered to support putting on the fight “when it was running into difficulties”.


Mr Ward said he was seeking similar support for the the Shamrock and Olive Tree Boxing Project to assist them in bringing a small group of Palestinian boxers and coaches to Ireland in August as part of a sporting and cultural exchange.

In response, Mr Byrne said the statutory body Sport Ireland had allocated over half a million euro to the Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) and this was “really the only avenue that we fund boxing”.

“That has increased and it’s going to increase, we support it from a financial level,” he said. “Just to be clear, we did not offer financial assistance to the Katie Taylor fight this week, we met the promoters and I have to say, your [Deputy Ward’s] own party was very strongly advocating me to do that.

“We did meet them and we talked to them but there was no offer of Government funding arising out of that particular exchange.

“There is a very high bar for those those major events as well.”

The minister also said that the Government was “very happy” with governance changes that had taken place in IABA. Mr Byrne said the association and the country’s boxers were facing “unprecedented challenges navigating the geo-political scene at the moment, particularly in relation to the international association”.

“Yesterday, I met two of the directors of World Boxing [Association] and we’re working very hard as a Government to give them support to ensure that our boxers have all of the avenues all around the world to participate at the highest competitive level which is really important,” he said.

“We’re working really hard with World Boxing, with the Olympic movement to make sure that boxing does remain an Olympic sport into the future because as people will know that position is seriously threatened at the moment by what’s going on at a global level.”

The Meath East TD said there may be funding available to assist the cultural exchange referenced by Mr Ward from the IABA, the Department of Foreign Affairs or local authorities.

“My department doesn’t have direct funding for this but I’m certainly willing to be of help if we can to see what other sources might be there,” he added.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times