Bernard Dunne has left his role as the Irish Athletic Boxing Association's (IABA) high performance director.
The IABA has confirmed that Dunne, who has been on extended leave from the role since the Tokyo Olympics at which Ireland won two boxing medals, had tendered his resignation but said they hope he will change his mind.
Olympic champion Kellie Harrington echoed the association's sentiment, but in a tweet the Dublin boxer suggested Dunne was hindered in how he ran the high performance unit.
"I second that, and would like to see him change his mind, but its hard to when your not allowed to do your job the way it shud (sic) be done.. He was a great director of the [high performance unit]," said Harrington.
The former world champion took up the role in 2017 and oversaw a difficult period in Irish amateur boxing, with stalwarts Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes having turned pro after after failing to medal at the Rio Olympics the year before.
The association said in a statement that it "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".
"Under Bernard's leadership, the HPU has been reinvigorated in the wake of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Since his appointment, Ireland's boxers won two 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.
According to the IABA, Dunne lodged a complaint against two volunteers in October 2021 after an unsigned SWOT analysis – a strategic planning and management technique used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – critical of his performance was circulated at board level prior to Tokyo, in February that year.
The IABA said that it "has always regarded this document as malicious and an appalling attack on a member of staff and on the High-Performance Unit."
"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."
I second that, and would like to see him change his mind, but its hard to when your not allowed to do your job the way it shud be done.. He was a great director of the HP https://t.co/Aegxa7ov27— Kellie Harrington (@Kelly64kg) May 4, 2022
Reacting to the news of Dunne's departure, Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley told RTÉ Sport: "Today's development in Irish amateur boxing is a bit of a shock, but not really at the same time.
"Irish amateur boxing has been struggling over the years outside of the ring and I don't think anyone can put their finger on it as to why.
"We've seen Billy Walsh step away and now we see Bernard Dunne stepping away from the sport.
"Something needs to be done. Boxing is Ireland's most successful sport and we can't let this continue.
"From my experiences in the high performance set-up, I believe that the IABA and the high performance team need to get together, sort this out and make this work for Irish amateur boxing."