Eleven teams from construction firms with Irish roots are going head-to-head in the 4-sport tourney, competing for four Iron Cups in Gaelic football, football, hurling and golf. Their day jobs are all about shifting iron girders, but they’re switching safety gear for athletics kit to raise money for people who can’t shift iron – because they have too much of it in their bodies.*
The competition has already raised more than £100,000 for Haemochromatosis UK, which supports people with genetic iron overload. “Genetic haemochromatosis is particularly prevalent in Irish families,” said David Head, Chief Executive at the charity, “so it is fantastic that several Irish family firms are making this happen. It’s also worth knowing that an estimated 30,000 Londoners could well be carriers of the condition.” **
The first two cups - for Gaelic football and football - have already been won by Toureen Group, the overall sponsors, who are renovating the Old War Office in Whitehall.
John Murphy, CEO at Murphy, highlighted the fact that the competition reflects the rivalries between the firms, but also solidarity around support for good causes and amongst Irish communities. “We are very pleased to support Haemochromatosis UK and be a part of The Iron Games”, he said, adding “The team is looking forward to the next round and hopefully some silverware for the Murphy cabinet.”
Carey Group, who are currently working on a major development at Bow Street Magistrates Court, are another one of the family firms taking part in the tourney. Siobhan Carey manages Carey's Foundation. “We are always pleased and proud to support numerous charities across the UK & Ireland”, said Siobhan, ”and with The Iron Games adding links to our Irish roots and some friendly rivalry with competitor firms in London it’s not something we would want to miss. Supporting Haemochromatosis UK’s efforts to improve awareness and treatment of iron overload is directly aligned with our objectives and is a highly worthy cause.”
Daniel Nolan, Director at Toureen Group, added “There are so many families within the London Irish community that have lost loved ones prematurely due to haemochromatosis. It’s a condition that can be treated if it diagnosed in time but frustratingly more needs to be done to raise awareness of it amongst the wider public. The Iron Games provides a wonderful opportunity to do this via a range of competitive sports. We are very grateful to all the participating construction firms and their work forces who have put aside any business rivalries in order to support this initiative.”
Other companies participating and supporting the games with substantial donations are Reddingtons, Ground Construction Ltd, Mitchellsons, ECL Civil Engineering, Danny Sullivan Ltd, Oliver Connell and Getjar Ltd. The companies are all involved in major London construction projects including at Heathrow and at The Royal Albert Docks.
Dates for the golf and hurling will be announced online at irongames.org.uk.
To learn more about iron overload visit www.ironoverload.org.uk
* Excess iron stored in the body can cause organ damage, mental health problems, joint disease, diabetes and other issues. Iron overload can be fatal. It is usually easily treated if diagnosed early.
** An estimated 1 in 200 people of northern European origin have the genetic mutations that cause iron overload. About 25% of Londoners are non-European. In round figures, 8m people x 75% x 1/200 = 30,000. This does not mean that all 30,000 are loading iron, only that they have the genetic predisposition to do so, but it does underscore the importance of testing when symptoms such as chronic fatigue and join pain are present.