'It was heartbreaking they had to learn it' - Claudine Keane recalls son Robert's experience with active shooter drills in LA
Claudine Keane said she found it "quite heartbreaking" that her eldest son Robert Jr was experienced in active shooter drills while at school in the US.
Robert (10) spend five years of his childhood in Beverly Hills, California, where the Keanes moved in 2011 as part of Robbie's much-hyped move to LA Galaxy. They have since returned home to Ireland and Robert Jr is enrolled in primary school in Dublin's Malahide, with their three-year-old son Hunter.
Claudine said she doesn't think they will be there forever, but she does see a stark difference in Ireland and the US in regards the threat of guns and shooters.
"Robert has done drills, he did them in school and when he came home and told me what they had to do it was quite heartbreaking to think they have to learn it," she said.
"They'd check the lockdown system and an alarm would go off, they'd know where to meet. I think it is hard for kids to comprehend."
She explained her own experience with a shooter while shopping in the area's legendary shopping mecca of Rodeo Drive last year in which she feared for her life.
"It is quite apparent there. I actually happened to be on Rodeo Drive going in to buy my mam a gift just before Christmas," she explained.
"Then I heard three or four people screaming saying, 'lock the door'. I ran straight for the stockroom. There were bangs and noises and sirens, but someone had taken a shot in a hotel two doors down. It was very scary and we weren't allowed leave for an hour.
"There was a fatality so that had to be taken care of. It was a one and a million thing to happen, I didnt see anything I could just hear it. It was a robbery but I thought it was a terrorist."
Meanwhile, she recalled some of her cherished memories of their time there, including solidifying their friendship with One Direction's Niall Horan.
"When we lived in LA, Niall lived in LA too," she said. "Being on his own and single at Thanksgiving - which is a massive thing over there, it's our Christmas - I would hate to see anyone on his own.
"So Niall would always come in with us and I'd say, 'I will make another plate and you can stay here, don't worry'. He is such a sweet guy and he is so kind to Robert. They get on great - they do have a brotherly relationship.
"He came to Soccer Aid with us and we made sure he got home okay."
Now the Keanes are living between Dublin and the north-east of England, where both Robbie and his 10-year-old son are involved with Championship side Middlesbrough.
"Robert is on the academy team for Middlesbrough as well. He is doing really well," added Claudine.
As for whether he will follow in his dad's footsteps, she said: "It is so hard to know at that age. He is mad into it and he is good, you just never know.
"The exciting part is that he is interested in something his dad is interested in. It is so nice to have something in common with your parents.
"He does seem to be showing a little bit of potential. He scored a hat-trick the other day.
"He is with Middlesbrough at the moment and if he wanted to stay there I'd have to consider for him to do that, but he is such a young age. Maybe at 14, 15 is the time you make decisions like that."
"He is very rounded and a lovable boy."
Claudine is happy to see her husband working with Mick McCarthy in the Ireland set-up.
"Mick is such a fantastic personality. Because Robbie started his career with Mick, he gave him his first chance, it has gone really full circle - they work so well as well," said Claudine.
"They have had a clear run so far. It's nice to be top of the group, so hopefully it keeps going that way.
"He learns so much from him. Mick said 'you have to take this job'."
When it comes to her own modelling career, Claudine added that she looks back fondly on her days at photocalls.
She said she also loved all the travelling - but it never became a full-time job for her.
"I always only dipped in and out because I was always living away," she said.
Claudine was on hand yesterday to launch the Spar Better Choices Back to School Value campaign.
She is a Spar Better Choices ambassador and hailed the chain's efforts to help make school life healthier.
Healthy breakfast, lunchbox and dinner favourites are available in participating Spar stores nationwide now.