Harris “shocked and numb” after Bray Boxing Club shooting

The Health Minister says it is important not to jump to conclusions about boxing

Harris “shocked and numb” after Bray Boxing Club shooting

A body is removed from Bray Boxing Club, Bray, Co Wicklow, 002018. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

The Minister for Health has urged the public not to jump to conclusions about boxing in the wake of this week’s shooting in County Wicklow.

50-year-old Bobby Messett was killed and two others injured when a gunman opened fire at the Bray Boxing Club on Tuesday morning.

Boxing trainer Pete Taylor – father to Ireland’s Olympic champion boxer Katie Taylor – and Ian Britton are still in hospital.

It is believed Mr Messett was an innocent bystander.

50-year-old Bobby Messett, who was killed in Tuesday’s shooting in Bray. Image: Facebook/ Taylor Made Boxing Gym

Established in 2014, the gym is owned by Bray Municipal Council and operated by Mr Taylor.

Investigators have yet to establish a motive for the attack – however, it is the third shooting incident at a boxing event or premises.

Minister Simon Harris, who is also a TD for Wicklow, said it is important we don’t jump to conclusions about the sport.

“We need to be very careful not to tar any one sport with one brush,” he said.

“We obviously have had a number of very high profile and worrying events - but we also have an extraordinary number of very decent people who partake in boxing as a sport – it is a sport that we have seen a lot of success and achievement as a country.”

The Minister for health Simon Harris

He said he was left feeling “shocked and numb” after the attack:

“The Bray Boxing Club has been, in recent years, a symbol of achievement and success,” he said.

“It was a facility we invested hugely in after Katie Taylor’s incredible Olympic win.

“To see that symbol of achievement and success and fitness and healthy living being turned into a scene of devastation, of tragedy, of criminality in terms of someone being shot has really come as a great shock.”

Investigators have been focusing on the suspected getaway van in the two days since the attack.

The shooter is believed to have escaped in a silver Volkswagen Caddy with a Northern Irish registration that travelled through Bray, Shankill and Cornelscourt.

The van was ultimately abandoned on Pigeon House Road in Ringsend at around 8.05am.

A man was seen leaving the vehicle and cycling away.

The shooter still remains at large and the weapon used has yet to be found.

It is understood Gardaí have spoken to both Mr Taylor and Mr Britton in hospital.

Minister Harris said it is important detectives are given the time to find those responsible:

“We need to be very careful not to jump to any conclusion,” he said.

“I have every confidence that the Gardaí are on top of this; that they are doing a very thorough investigation and I am happy for that investigation to run its course.”

Gardaí are continuing to appeal for anyone with any information to come forward.