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Dublin Regency Hotel attack: Staff, fight fans, guests, tourists... all in state of disbelief

By Adam Cullen

Published 06/02/2016

It was an ordinary Friday afternoon for staff in Dublin's Regency Hotel.

Tourists and guests checked in and out, the bar was bustling with hungry customers, and workers were busy preparing for an event in the function room.

But what was to be a routine boxing weigh-in, attracting hundreds of eager fight fans, soon turned into a bloodbath.

Shortly after 2.20pm yesterday three armed men, reportedly dressed as Garda and brandishing automatic weapons, stormed into the banquet hall and opened fire.

One staff member spoke of how an ordinary day descended into terror: "We host functions like this all the time, anything from poker tournaments to mixed martial arts to boxing. Sometimes you might get some alcohol-related trouble, but nothing like this. It is just so surreal. To think this has happened here is just... there are no words. We have many tourists staying here and they have all had to be let out.

"And the kids, too. There was kids here in the room with their favourite fighters' T-shirts on, wanting to see the boxers. What if there was a stray bullet?"

The scene, located just metres away from tree-lined Griffith Avenue, remained sealed off last night. A body riddled with bullets lay inside.

Confused tourists arriving at the hotel for the weekend tried to cross the Garda crime scene tape only to be told to get back.

"I'm here on business for the weekend and I am heading to the match on Sunday, but I don't know what's going on," said David Steele from Leeds.

"The police aren't telling me anything. I've asked them if I should call my travel insurance company to book another hotel and they said it was up to me. It's not the kind of Irish welcome I was expecting."

An elderly couple, also from the UK, said the incident had left them in both shock and disbelief.

"It is unbelievable," said 78-year-old Bethel Cross from Hampshire.

"The hotel and staff are all so lovely.

"I am worried it will affect their business.

"It is very cold out here at the moment, it's lashing rain and we don't know if we have a place to stay tonight or not.

"All our belongings are inside and we can't go in."

One of the fighters due to take to the ring said that at one point he was just 15 metres away from the gunmen.

"What can I say? All hell broke loose," he explained.

"I thought I was a dead man. This kind of thing has no place at a sporting event. It is dragging the sport down."

Residents also struggled last night to get home as the road outside the hotel was closed to the public, leaving hundreds stranded at both ends.

Belfast Telegraph

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