Northern Ireland

Ni Chuilin: Funding 'not denied to Sandy Row boxing club'

Image caption Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said funding had not been denied because the club was unaffiliated

Sport NI funding was not refused to a boxing club in a loyalist area of Belfast, Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has said.

TUV MLA Jim Allister had claimed funding was refused to the Sandy Row club because it was not affiliated to the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.

The mainly Protestant club claims it was subjected to chronic sectarianism over the past decade.

Ms Ni Chuilin has asked Mr Allister to arrange a meeting with her department.

She said she had invited the Sandy Row club to Stormont on a number of occasions and they had refused to attend.

Physical assaults

The minister was responding to a question from North Antrim MLA Mr Allister who wanted to know how the Sandy Row club could get funding.

Representatives from the club, who said boxers had suffered verbal and physical assaults in nationalist areas, have compiled a 57-page report detailing the incidents.

Last week Mr Allister alleged the club would not benefit from a £3m Department of Culture fund because it was not affiliated to the Irish Amateur Boxing Association..

Speaking in the assembly, the minister said her department had been working through the allegations and she also asked the TUV MLA to withdraw his remark .

She told the assembly that funding had not been withdrawn.

Ms Ni Chuilin suggested that if Jim Allister was able to facilitate a meeting involving the club and her department he should do so.

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