Bohemian Foundation continues to grow
Prisoners in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison were overjoyed to learn that recently retired professional footballer, Shane Supple, will be continuing his involvement with them over the coming months. They only learned this while Supple, who was forced to retire prematurely due to a persistent injury, was being interviewed by famous Irish comedian and chat show host Tommy Tiernan in Mountjoy Prison about his career and future plans.
“Although I now have a full-time job outside football and with the evenings getting brighter, I’ll have time to come into Mountjoy,” Supple explained. “Even though we recently lost players that were stalwarts of the Foundation, the new players are eager to get involved.”
Bohemians first team manager, Keith Long, has also encouraged his new players to take part in the Bohemian Foundation’s initiatives stating that he believes it can have benefits not only for the prisoners, but it can help his players grow and become more rounded people.
Supple himself can attest to this, “from my experience the new players who get involved will personally benefit greatly from working with the Foundation. I’ve also seen this first-hand with the other players who worked in the prison with the Foundation.”
Deputy Governor of Mountjoy Prison, Donnacha Walsh, explained on the night that this continuity is vital for the continued success of the development of the prisoners.
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring was also gushing in his praise of the night and the work of the Bohemian Foundation.
“What Thomas Hynes and the Bohemian Foundation are doing, in terms of reaching out to the community is fantastic,” he said. “The Foundation does stellar work in preparing prisoners to reintegrate into the community after their release and tonight was just another example of that.”
Speaking after the event Thomas Hynes, president of the Bohemian Foundation, said, “people often find it difficult to empathise with those inside prison, but it’s important for the prisoners to feel comfortable and accepted when we come into the prison.”
He added, “this is why we stood up and said how much we appreciate them welcoming us, the community, into their home. The prisoners are still talking about that. This is what can be achieved through football – breaking down those barriers.”
Hynes also spoke of the impact football has, and continues to have, on the development of the prisoners.
“We recently held a commemorative match for a young Bohemians fan who tragically passed away. We brought his family in for the match and every prisoner we work with came up to the family, shook hands with them and gave their sincerest condolences and showed them immeasurable respect. But the other prisoners we don’t work with weren’t really aware of the situation themselves.”
One of the eminent guests on the night was also full of praise for the work of the Bohemian Foundation. Lecturer in Criminology in Maynooth University, Dr. Ian Marder said, “recent research indicates that physical activity in prisons, such as sports, can have a number of benefits for prisoners, including for their mental health and wellbeing. It can also act as a pathway to education, where sporting qualifications are made available.”