Republic of Ireland news

Boxing gym founded by Katie Taylor's father says members heartbroken after shootings

Pete Taylor, father of champion Irish boxer Katie Taylor, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the attack near Dublin
Michael McHugh

THE boxing gym founded by Irish boxing champion Katie Taylor's father has said its members are heartbroken after a user was shot dead.

Sports and keep fit enthusiast Bobby Messett, (50), died while Pete Taylor, (57), sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries in the attack near Dublin. A third man, (35), was also hurt.

They were part of a group of up to 20 people at Bray Boxing Club in Co Wicklow who were about to start a session shortly before 7am on Tuesday when a gunman opened fire.

A statement from the club said Mr Messett had been a dedicated and determined member for eight years and it was an "absolute pleasure to have been gifted with so many hours of his time".

The Facebook post added: "We are heartbroken and will miss you dearly... in the front row with Dave, ringside with Andy, increasing those chins every single week, being the first up for any challenge, that poor bruised nose every single time you sparred.

"Morning chats about your race progress, continuously striving to get fitter, faster and stronger every single session.

"Thank you for being all of our friends, we adore you, and all have our own treasured memories of moments with you."

The club was where Taylor – Ireland's Olympic, European and world champion – began her career. She went on to win gold at London 2012 with her father in her corner but now works in the US under different management.

A man wearing a balaclava or helmet and a high visibility jacket burst in and opened fire at the harbour-side centre using a suspected hand gun, police said.

Gardai said the attack came "out of the blue" and located a suspected getaway van at Pigeon House Road in Dublin.

On Tuesday, Garda Superintendent Pat Ward said detectives were still establishing a motive, with investigators unsure whether the attack was targeted or indiscriminate.

They were unaware of pre-existing threats to any gym member.

Mr Messett, a painter and decorator from Bray, was a member of local sporting clubs including Bray Wheelers cycling club and Glencormac United football club.

Colm Mulligan, senior manager at Glencormac, said he was "just one of the nicest, most easy going chaps you could ever meet".

He told RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Wednesday: "Bobby offended no one... It's just so unfortunate, heartbreaking."

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