Latest: Bray Boxing club shooting 'nothing to do with boxing', says IABA

Update - 12.59pm: The Irish Athletic Boxing Association says there is no connection between the sport and criminality.

The association's comments come after 50-year-old Bobby Messett was shot dead at Bray Boxing club yesterday.

Bobby Messett. Pic via Taylor Made Boxing Gym Facebook page

Speaking this morning on the Today programme presented by Richard Curran, the CEO of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association Fergal Carruth has said the IABA is "completely horrified that something like this could happen in the setting of a community sports club".

Mr Carruth said there is a "huge amount of speculation" but what happened yesterday has "absolutely nothing to do with boxing".

He said: "This is a societal issue, it's not simply to do with boxing.

Gardaí at the scene of a shooting incident at Bray Boxing Club in The Harbour, Bray, Co. Wicklow. Photograph:

"People have been affected through the gangland activity right throughout the country and this is just another case of an innocent person being brought into all of this'.

"The reality is that boxing is rooted in some of the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland and sometimes that can bring its own challenges."

Graham O'Neill, a neighbour of Mr Messett, told Richard they are in shock, saying: "The area is absolutely shocked by what happened.

A very good guy, decent, hardworking man just going about his life.

A cyclist and keen sports enthusiast, Graham said you would see Bobby regularly all over Wicklow cycling with the Bray Wheelers.

It is the third violent incident at a boxing event in recent years.

National Secretary of the IABA, Art O'Brien, told Newstalk radio that the incidents are not linked.

He said: "Let's take the Regency, there is no connection here in any shape or form to amateur boxing, it was totally to do with professional boxing.

"In relation to the shooting outside the National Stadium, it took place outside the National Stadium, it had nothing at all to do with boxing or what was going on in the stadium."

Update - 7.45am: Gardaí investigating the Wicklow shooting are looking at whether it may be linked to an ongoing local feud, writes Cormac O'Keeffe of the Irish Examiner.

Father of three and sportsman Bobby Messett, from Giltspur Brook in Bray, Co Wicklow, received a fatal gunshot wound to his head yesterday when a gunman recklessly opened fire on a packed early morning boot camp in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The 50-year-old suffered traumatic injuries and died at the scene, while two other people, including boxing coach Pete Taylor, escaped with their lives.

Mr Taylor, aged 57 and father of boxer Katie Taylor, received a gunshot wound to his torso, while another innocent participant in the fitness session, Ian Britton, aged 35, was shot three times in the leg.

The body of Bobby Messett is removed from Bray Boxing Club, where three people were shot yesterday morning. Picture: PA

Detectives believe the shooting was a botched attack and are understood to be following specific lines of inquiry on local criminality.

Officers said they did not know if the attack was indiscriminate or if the gunman had planned to target a particular person, but said the shooting was “reckless”.

They are examining a number of avenues and believe the motive has local causes relating to criminality, which enveloped “totally innocent people”.

One source said: "Detectives are going down a certain road on this, but getting evidence is a different thing."

The man killed in the attack was a well-known local sportsman, boxing coach, cyclist, and footballer who often engaged in charity work.

He was totally innocent, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - Garda source.

Speaking at the scene yesterday, Superintendent Patrick Ward of Bray Garda Station said that, at around 6.50am to 7am, about 15-20 people had gathered for a gym session at the club.

“They were just about to start their session when someone came in, a gunman,” he said.

“He was carrying a firearm, we believe it was a handgun, and he started opening fire and three people received gunshot wounds, unfortunately one died at the scene.

“It was a normal session, being undertaken by people who normally undertake that session. This came totally out of the blue.”

Supt Ward said that while they were trying to determine the number of shots that were fired, “more people could have been injured”.

He said there was no prior information to suggest any threat to that gym and that they did not know what the motive was, but that that was a “prime inquiry”.

While the gunman was wearing “headgear”, it was not yet clear what type.

Supt Ward said they had the names of most of the people who were in the gym and urged anyone who hadn’t yet been in touch to do so.

6.26am: Friends pay tribute to fitness enthusiast killed in Bray triple shooting, Pete Taylor injured

Investigations into the shooting at Bray Boxing Club in Wicklow are focusing on the gunman's getaway car.

He opened fire yesterday morning killing 50-year-old Robert Messett. It is thought the father of champion boxer Katie Taylor, Pete Taylor, was also hurt and was the intended target.

A third man was shot in the leg.

Gardaí have this evening issued a renewed appeal for information as part of their investigation.

It is believed the silver Volkswagen Caddy used in the shooting travelled from Bray through Shankill and Cornelscourt before being abandoned on Pigeon House Road in the Ringsend area of Dublin just after 8am.

A man was seen leaving the van and cycling away.

Gardaí are asking people who saw him or the van along that route between 7 and 8 o'clock this morning to contact them at Bray Garda Station on 01 6665300, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Friends have paid tribute to Mr Messett following the news of his death.

Colm Mulligan said everyone's "prayers and hearts go out to" Mr Messett's loved ones and wrote on the Glencormac United Facebook page: "Sadly, you will all have heard by now of the tragic news of the loss of our beloved Bobby "Dazzler" Messitt.

"Bobby was an innocent victim in the shooting this morning at Bray Boxing Club and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Words cannot convey how heartbroken every one of us is at The Glens to lose one the most dedicated club men anyone could have."

- Digital Desk

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