Saturday 23 September 2017

Boy (8) whose terror was caught on video is recovering, says dad

Gary Sweeney at the weigh-in
Gary Sweeney at the weigh-in
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE young boy who was heard pleading for his daddy to help as gunmen stormed the Regency hotel is recovering from the trauma, according to his father.

Boxer Michael Sweeney had attended the weigh-in for the WBO European boxing match along with his eight-year-old son Rocky. The pair were there to support Mr Sweeney's brother Gary, who was due to compete the following day in the National Arena. He had just stepped off the scales when the gunmen opened fire.

In a video capturing the panic that ensued, Rocky can be heard pleading with his father to help him, and crying out "Daddy, Daddy help me, Daddy what was that?" as he runs for cover along with his father.

Mr Sweeney, from Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, who is himself a professional boxer, told the Irish Independent his son is now recovering but said the family were continuing to monitor him. "He hasn't really talked to us about it but he has spoken to some of the young lads. Thankfully, he's doing fine.

"He's only eight so we'll keep an eye on him. He's just a kid and not too many people have to deal with something like this in their lives. You just don't think something like this could happen in a hotel in the middle of the day. You think you are safe," he added.

Mr Sweeney told how his brother Gary, who was preparing for his professional debut, had just left the stage of the function room in the Regency hotel at the time of the shooting. He was standing to the side of the stage and was still in his boxer shorts when the gunmen stormed the room and opened fire. The three ran for cover.

"It was just a split second. At first, I thought it was some sort of scuffle or fight but then people started to run. I followed suit. I grabbed him [Rocky] and ran. Gary was still in his boxers, we all just made for the exit. Thankfully we were all safe and uninjured," he added.

Irish Independent

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