The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) is delighted to announce the launch of new initiative ‘HI GARDA’ in conjunction with An Garda Síochána. The initiative, which commenced last week and is scheduled to continue through October 2021, will see community Gardaí visiting their local boxing clubs to engage and interact with members. It is hoped the new programme will help to further strengthen the long-established relationships between the Gardaí and local boxing clubs

The IABA and An Garda Síochána enjoy a rich and proud history, dating all the way back to the inception of the association in 1911. In the 1920s, General Eoin O’Duffy placed a great importance on the sport of boxing within An Garda Síochána, seeing it as a means of introducing Gardaí into their local communities as they assisted in the establishment of boxing clubs throughout the country. It was this work that laid the foundations for the enduring relationship which continues to flourish to this very day.

The IABA are proud to boast a large number of Gardai amongst its members through its history which include some well-known names such as such Willie “Boy” Murphy, Dick Hearns and Jim Brannigan along with more recent members such as Niall Kennedy, Olympian Adam Nolan as well as Paris 2024 hopeful Christina Desmond. The IABA also counts the Garda Boxing Club as one of its affiliated units.

Last Friday 24th September, local Community Gardaí visited Celtic Eagles boxing club in Galway to begin the ‘Hi Garda’ initiative. The IABA would like to thank Pawel Popko and all the club members who were in attendance on the night and also give a special mention to Garda Joe Hirst and Garda Muiris Quinn for helping to facilitate this event (pictures attached). The IABA would encourage all clubs to engage in the ‘Hi Garda’ initiative by contacting their local Garda stations and inviting community Gardaí to pay a visit to the club. Clubs are encouraged to send pictures relating to the Hi Garda initiative to

Today’s announcement follows on from an informal 2018 programme between the two organisations that saw 17 active Gardaí joining various affiliated amateur boxing clubs. The purpose of that programme was to help re-establish links between the Gardaí and their local boxing clubs. This community-based and pro-active collaborative work between both organisations is extremely important to our clubs, their communities and to the Association, and the new ‘HI GARDA’ programme aims to build on this work even more into the future.

Speaking about the new initiative, IABA CEO Fergal Carruth said: “An Garda Síochána has played a huge part in the formation and development of the IABA. It is fantastic to highlight the very close bond that has always been shared between both organisations, past and present, through this initiative. It is hoped that the ‘HI GARDA’ initiative will be the start of many further collaborative programs between the IABA and An Garda Síochána.”