The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) can confirm that it has received Bernard Dunne’s resignation as High-Performance Director. The Association deeply regrets Bernard’s decision, given the great contribution he has made to our sport since his appointment in 2017. The IABA would also like to note that its acceptance of his resignation is provisional as it has asked Bernard to reconsider his decision.
Bernard has been on leave from the company since the Tokyo Olympics. In October 2021, he submitted a complaint against two volunteers in connection with the dissemination of an anonymous document in February 2021
The IABA has always regarded this document as malicious and an appalling attack on a member of staff and on the High-Performance Unit. This is the most recent instance of a member of staff being subjected to undesirable behaviour solely because they are employees of the company.
CEO Fergal Carruth and Chair, Ciarán Kirwan, have both commented publicly on the grave nature of this attack on a staff member and have repeatedly stated unequivocal support for Bernard Dunne in his position as HPU Director. Under Bernard’s leadership, the HPU has been reinvigorated in the wake of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Since his appointment, Ireland’s boxers won 2 Olympic medals, gold, and bronze, 27 medals at World and European level– a feat made more remarkable by the fact Ireland’s boxers were not in competition for long periods of time due to Covid 19 restrictions.
The anonymous document entered the public domain in February 2021. The person or persons who authored it have elected not to claim responsibility for it at the time of publication or at any stage since. An initial hearing of Bernard’s complaint, made in October 2021, took place at the end of April, and was adjourned with the agreement of all parties. The process is ongoing.
It’s important to note that there are 28,000 people in the Irish Boxing family, and, like all families, there can be divergent views. A small cohort of the Irish Boxing family, however, has expressed robust dissatisfaction with the High-Performance Unit since its inception in 2003. They desire to see the selection of Team Ireland boxers for international competition and all connected matters, undertaken by people other than professionals/High Performance staff. This is not a realistic option in modern high-performance sport. This is not a risk that should be taken with Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport. Half of Ireland’s boxing Olympic medals have been won since the inception of the HPU and it is imperative that this winning structure is supported and protected.