Council takes possession of Bray Boxing Club after fatal shooting
Locks changed as local authority seeks to restore facility to community use
Gardaí at the scene of the fatal shooting at Bray Boxing Club earlier this month. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin
Councillor Christopher Fox, Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, said the move was necessary to restore the gym to working order.
Reports emerged on Wednesday that the local authority had “secured the building” but Wicklow County Council could not be reached for comment.
Mr Fox said he understood the keys would have been handed back to the council, the building’s landlord, once no longer required by garda investigators. Gardaí confirmed the building is no longer a crime scene.
“The position is that it was operating under a licence and it was always intended to be a community facility,” he said.
“[The council] want to ensure that it remains a community facility and that it doesn’t stray away from that ethos. I assume there will be discussions between the council and the tenants.”
The council may now seek to move from a licensing arrangement at the club to a lease based agreement.
John Brady, Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow, said members of Bray Boxing Club had returned to the premises last week to find the locks had been changed.
“It’s a huge blow. It was a long campaign to get the club. It was a purpose-built facility for boxing in the area,” he said, referring to the success of Olympic champion Katie Taylor, on whose success the club’s existence ultimately came about.
“Whatever [alternative] arrangements the council are looking to put in place, that needs to be put in place as swiftly as possible.
“Anything that locks kids out of the sport they love can’t be allowed to turn into a prolonged thing. There is still a lot of grieving going on, a lot of people trying to come to terms with it.”
Mr Brady said there was a belief among the community that the gym needed to be maintained as a legacy to Bobby Messett.
A statement from the local authority reported by the Wicklow News website said: “Following the tragic incident last week Wicklow County Council has now secured the building.
“As owner of the premises, the Council has a responsibility to ensure that the building is restored to a condition fit for community use.
“Arrangements are being made to carry out an examination of the facility with a view to undertaking any necessary repairs.
It said the council was liaising with representatives of the Bray Boxing Club.