Monday 24 October 2016

'A lot of things go through your head... my wife and kids just wanted to hear my voice afterwards' - Regency Hotel manager on gun rampage

Published 08/02/2016 | 12:50

Hotel manager John Glynn outside the Regency Hotel in Whitehall, scene of the recent gangland murder
Hotel manager John Glynn outside the Regency Hotel in Whitehall, scene of the recent gangland murder

The hotel manager at the Regency has described in detail how he lay on the floor as three gunmen carried out a vicious attack just feet away from him.

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Dublin's Regency hotel manager John Glynn became emotional as he said 'a lot of things went through his mind' as he watched the attack unfold on Friday afternoon.

Speaking to Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show, the manager said the important thing was none of his innocent staff or customers were injured in the gun rampage and he credited his customers for their support over the weekend.

"I couldn't understand what was happening. My first thoughts when I saw the men in gear come through the door was that they were gardai arriving for lunch," he said.

"I was about to approach them and then i saw the three revolvers, I thought now this is a different ball game."

Mr Glynn said it was "just as well" the man who was fatally shot was lying down, as two of the hotel receptionists were standing behind him at the desk.

"He slipped and fell at reception, one of the gunmen fired two shots and shot him dead.

"It was probably just as well he was lying down. Two of our receptionists were standing right behind him, it could have been your daughter or my daughter and that would have been a different story today.

"One of the guys shouted 'lie down' so I actually just lay down on the ground.

"I think they got lost. They were looking for the weigh-in room.

Members of the Gardai following the fatal shooting of David Byrne (34), (from Raleigh Square, Crumlin) at the Regency Hotel, Dublin
Members of the Gardai following the fatal shooting of David Byrne (34), (from Raleigh Square, Crumlin) at the Regency Hotel, Dublin

"I was still lying on the ground. I was on the ground for at least five minutes and the fella beside me was gone, it was frightening," he continued.

"One of the guards told me afterwards I should go buy a Lotto ticket. I asked him 'why?', he said I'm a man with nine lives.

The scene inside the Regency Hotel in Whitehall
The scene inside the Regency Hotel in Whitehall

"When you're there... imagine, in your office today and three gunmen come in the front door with large guns. Just think about it. A lot of things go through your head.

He became emotional as he continued: "When I rang my wife... my four kids... when they rang, all they wanted to hear was my voice."

Experienced hotel manager Glynn said it was the "worst experience" of his career.

"This is my worst experience, I have to say I never, ever want to see it again," he said.

"My god, this is a different world now we're living in. What happened in the Regency Hotel could have happened anywhere.

"Please God we'll be back to business today. We didn't do anything wrong, we have over 100 employed and we want our business to continue."

He continued: "It's not until it happens you can understand. I've never had this experience before.

"I hope I won't be going around looking over my shoulders for the rest of my life wondering will it happen again.

"[In that situation] you're not the boss, they are and they call the shots. One thing I learnt is when they shout 'lie down', you lie down and you don't go near them."

Mr Glynn said his priorities are his staff and the hotel and he's looking forward to getting back to business.

He credited Welsh rugby fans who arrived on Friday afternoon after the incident and thanked them for their understanding and support.

He also thanked the "very supportive and helpful" gardai who set up an area to allow the hotel to continue arrivals and check-ins for the weekend.

"When the Welsh supporters arrived, they were very sympathetic," he said.

"They left their baggage and went into town to leave us alone.

"From a tourist point of view they do believe Ireland is a safe place to be, but I'm sure they were asking questions themselves.

"Gardai have arranged counselling for staff in the next few days.

"Please god they'll be able to track some of these characters down," he added.

Speaking later on RTÉ's Liveline, the hotel manager told host Joe Duffy that they had been unaware that a weigh in was to take place at the hotel when they first took bookings for the boxing event.

“There was an agent [from Spain] who made contact with us as far back as September to reconfirm the bookings… when all the rooms were confirmed, [the agent] requested a meeting room," he said.

“Now they didn’t say it was for a weigh in but we later, on the week, realised it was a weigh in but we wouldn’t have a problem with that anymore than anyone else.

“A weigh in is just a weigh in, and you wouldn’t take too much notice of it.

“It was open to the public and that’s why there were so many people.”

He added:“It was an agent in Spain and the Gardaí have their name and number."

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