Belfast Telegraph

Boxers rehoused but not backing out

by Bob Malcolm

Castlereagh Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) has been rehoused by Belfast Education and Library Board after a ruckus with Castlereagh Borough Council about using a council owned community centre.

The ABC has been granted use of the old Beechfield Primary School — but insist that their fight against Castlereagh Borough Council is not over.

Their gripe remains about the alleged activities going on in Dungoyne Community Centre which is used by Dundonald Bowling Club.

ABC coach Terry McCorran is calling for a public meeting between Dundonald Bowling Club, Castlereagh ABC and Castlereagh Council to iron out the issues concerning the centre.

Mr McCorran said: “We intend to come back to Castlereagh. We’re going to Beechfield because we have to at the minute, but our long-term objective is to get back to where we want to be.

“We’re putting the kids first here. Lots of parents have agreed to drive children to the place and the most important thing is the kids — they were punching the air when they heard the news.

“We’re so grateful to the board for pulling us out of this hole. We hope to be in by next Friday.”

He said that even though he was pleased to have somewhere for the club he was still preparing for the worst.

“We’ve had so many twists and turns with Castlereagh that we’re just waiting for a disaster.

“Someone said it was likely the two cranes would fall down right on top of the old school before we got to move in,” he half-joked.

Jim Rodgers, UUP council candidate and member of the Belfast Education and Library Board, commended the decision to house the ABC. He said: “The use of the former Beechfield primary school assembly hall has been agreed for the boxing club.

“We have agreed to permit them to use the facility — in the proposal we agreed to let them use the hall.”

“This is great news because these people are doing great work.

“I had absolutely no hesitation agreeing with this request.

“A lot of people were totally unaware of what was going on with the club and as a sports enthusiast I think this is great.”

On March 30 the Castlereagh members and supporters of the boxing club stormed Castlereagh Council Civic Centre, and protested against the council because they claim they discovered a ‘drinking den’ in the Dungoyne Community Centre.

Castlereagh Council deny such allegations and a spokesperson said the bowling club was a bona fide sporting body.

Sam Stevenson, secretary of Dundonald Bowling Club said the centre was “definitely not” being used as a shebeen and accused the boxing club of trying to take over the premises.

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