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Ferris wishes athletes well

21 August, 2008 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Sport, Martin Ferris TD has congratulated the Irish athletes at the Olympics on their performances to date and extended his best wishes to those still to compete. The Kerry North TD also said that the Olympics provided a good opportunity for Irish people to reflect on the value of sport and on the need for increased investment and funding for sport, particularly involving young people.

Deputy Ferris said, "I would like to congratulate all Irish competitors and in particular the three boxers who have already secured bronze medals at least. I would also like to wish Paddy Barnes, Kenny Egan and Darren Sutherland the very best in their semi final bouts on Friday and hope that they progress even further in their respective divisions. I would also like to wish Alistair Cragg luck in the 5000m final on Saturday.

"While the achievements of the Irish boxers in particular have created a good feeling around the country, it is also appropriate that we take the opportunity to ask whether enough is being done to promote sport, particularly among young people. It is unfortunate that sometimes it takes the success of boxers from clubs like Neilstown and St. Saviours in Dublin and Katie Taylor's club in Bray to highlight the fact that sports clubs in working class areas are often facing an uphill battle to survive with inadequate facilities.

"In my own constituency Tralee Boxing Club caters for many young boxers in the area but has had to turn away people in the last number of years due to inadequate facilities. They have received a total of €300 in funding from the state. Given that the success of the boxers will lead to increased interest it is vital that such clubs are properly funded. Otherwise all the official celebrations and congratulations are nothing more than lip service. " ENDS

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