The Irish Athletic Boxing Association’s ‘HI GARDA’ initiative has come to a successful conclusion, following its launch in September 2021. The initiative saw community Gardaí visiting their local boxing clubs to engage and interact with members, with clubs nationwide taking part. The ‘HI GARDA’ programme represented another strengthening of the ties between the IABA and An Garda Síochána, a relationship that is 100 years old.
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 is extremely proud of the work currently being conducted through the Garda Boxing Club and by the large number of Gardaí actively involved within boxing clubs throughout the country. The IABA also proudly boasts Garda Christina Desmond as an active boxer within its High-Performance Unit and Garda Adam Nolan was also a member of the 2012 Olympic boxing team.
HI GARDA builds on a 2018 initiative in which 17 Gardai underwent IABA training and qualified as Level 1 boxing coaches. That programme was designed to enable meaningful engagement between Gardai and boxers, in light of the fact many boxing clubs are based in areas of historic social, economic and educational disadvantage. This community-based and pro-active collaborative work between both organisations is extremely important to these clubs, their communities and to the Association, and the new ‘HI GARDA’ programme was introduced with the aim of building on this work even more into the future.
Speaking about the success of the initiative, IABA CEO Fergal Carruth said: “An Garda Síochána has played a huge part in the formation and development of the IABA and it is fantastic to have been able to highlight the very close bond that has always been shared between both organisations, past and present, through this initiative. We have been thrilled with the success of the ‘HI GARDA’ initiative and it has been great to see clubs across the country getting involved. It is our hope that the ‘HI GARDA’ initiative is but the first of many further collaborative programs between the IABA and An Garda Síochána.”