‘They Seemed Very Calm And Collected’


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From top: Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, Dublin, after last Friday’s shooting; Manager John Glynn

In a statement to the BBC this morning, a man alleging to speak on behalf of Continuity IRA said its members were responsible for the shooting in The Regency Hotel last Friday which left David Byrne dead and two men seriously injured.

The statement claimed Mr Byrne was shot because he had been involved in the killing of Alan Ryan in Dublin four years ago.

Further to this…

In a pre-recorded interview for RTÉ’s News At One, Áine Lawlor spoke with the managing director of The Regency Hotel, James McGettigan, who witnessed the shooting.

James McGettigan: “I was in the hotel bar with the general manager of the hotel, running through the business of the weekend. We had a very busy weekend, the hotel was full. We had a lot of Welsh rugby supporters over and we had Brendan Grace, who was playing for two nights so that was all booked out and the next thing is, there was commotion out in the reception area. There was sort of a panic. And within then maybe 15 seconds, three uniformed gardaí came in to the bar area and told everyone that this was the gardaí, to lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your heads.”

Áine Lawlor: “And you’d no reason to believe they weren’t gardaí at that stage?”

McGettigan: “Absolutely no. I mean these, they had the full Garda uniform. I mean they were very calm, very collected. I thought there was either an imminent robbery about to take place and the gardaí were about to thwart it or there was somebody in the bar that had done something somewhere else and the gardaí were about to, you know, arrest the person or something like that.”

Lawlor: “So they told people to lie down, they seemed very calm and collected. What happened then?”

McGettigan: “What happened then was there was a couple of shots fired. And then I saw a man just through a window in the bar basically getting assassinated. And that was just very, very shocking to watch. Because it happened so quickly and at this point, I really didn’t believe these guys were guards because the man beside me, who had a massive rifle – I don’t know what type it was – he basically, you know, he was basically looking at me and I was looking at him a little bit and, you know, I didn’t know if this was the real guards or not. But I started to believe that they weren’t and I started to panic. So then he disappeared and I went to the front door of the hotel to see if there was squad cars out there because I didn’t believe they were guards and this man is lying on the ground with blood pouring out of his head and I wanted to try and help him or save him or something. And when I went to the front door and opened it, I got a bit of a sinking feeling when I saw there was no cars out there at all, there was nothing.”

Lawlor: “So at this stage you know the real guards aren’t on your premises. You have these gunmen on your premises, presumably you want to contact the Garda Síochána?”

McGettigan: “Yes, that’s correct, yeah. And I ran down then, well ran, I walked down to the residents’ lounge of the hotel, I closed the door, I told this girl I met on the way who was an employee, I told her to immediately ring the guards and she said, the guards were already here. And I said, they’re not the guards. Went into the room and I slammed, closed the door and I locked it. There was a banging on the door afterwards, I don’t know who it was but I wasn’t going to open it to find out who it was and then I did try and contact the guards. Well when I rang 999, it was just a busy tone or it was a voice saying it was busy or something like that, I can’t remember exactly but I couldn’t get through. Now there may have been other people trying to ring at that point, I don’t know. But, look, you know, it was just very worrying not to get through you know? And, you know, I wanted to try and get these guys apprehended immediately. But I did eventually get through and…”

Lawlor: “How long did it take?”

McGettigan: “It took the third phone call so maybe, I don’t know, maybe 30/40 seconds?”

Lawlor: “So you got through and that stage. And what was the response from the garda when you finally got through?”

McGettigan: “Well the person I spoke to on the phone, I explained what happened, and he then said, ‘I’ll put you through to the Dublin division’. Then I could just hear the phone ringing and ringing and ringing out for, I don’t know, maybe 20/25 seconds. And twice he came on and said, ‘look they’ll answer, they will answer eventually,’ or ‘they’re about to answer’ or something like that. So, like 25 seconds seemed like an eternity for me now. I don’t know why that was.”

Lawlor: “Was all of this, I mean, you know, these aren’t huge delays but equally there’s a you know, there’s murder on your premises, there’s gunmen roaming around the place dressed as gardaí, did you have any sense in that time that you were able to get the help you needed from the security forces as quickly as you needed?”

McGettigan: “I don’t know what was happening. I just, there was a man outside, in the lobby, on the ground, with blood coming out of his head and all I wanted to do was try to help that person, that was all I was trying to do and I thought that we could probably try and maybe get these guys arrested. But I did then ring a detective I know on his mobile and he, he answered straight away and said he would get somebody out and I think, within, I stayed in that room then, I don’t know, within about two, two and a half minutes, the police had arrived.”

Lawlor: “And as you say, it’s a couple of days later and it was an horrific experience for everyone who was there and so many people in the country, even if they’re not Dubliners, they all know the Regency Hotel, it’s such a landmark, it’s so ordinary and what happened was so extraordinary.”

McGettigan: “Absolutely yes, you know, and the real worry was, I mean I didn’t know, I mean, how many people could have been, you know, certainly shot at – least of all myself for being pretty stupid. But, you know, I thought the person who was shot, I didn’t know who he was but he was just a guest in our premises so we were trying to just, you know, take care of him.”

Lawlor: “As one human being to another.”

McGettigan: “Correct.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Getting The Shot

Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews


72 thoughts on “‘They Seemed Very Calm And Collected’

  1. Anne

    “Well when I rang 999, it was just a busy tone or it was a voice saying it was busy or something like that, I can’t remember exactly but I couldn’t get through. Now there may have been other people trying to ring at that point, I don’t know.”

    A busy tone? Surely they have a few lines like..
    Or a voice saying it was busy? Maybe they were all busy reporting on their toilet activities to their bosses.

      1. rotide

        Yes, I think the real story in all this is the response time in emergency lines….

        How many people were in the hotel at the time? All carrying mobile phones?

        1. ahjayzis

          So if any incident involving a few dozen people at most occurs, the rest of us are screwed trying to get through to 999?

          Lawlor is totally downplaying it – at the end of the day this guy had to call a personal friend in order to get a Garda response. We don’t all have a garda boss in our phonebooks.

          1. rotide

            Oh, so you work in garda HQ do you? You know it was the call to his friend that made the gardai appear less than 2 minutes later? not the multpile 999 calls that must have been made from everyone there?

          2. Kdoc1

            That is bound to happen to some extent – unless the taxpayer is prepared to employ many Gardaí to instantly answer the many calls that are often received for the same incident. When the Gardaí arrive on the scene of the incident the calls will stop and the normal answering service will resume. I understand that seconds at these times will often feel like hours.

          1. rotide

            Let me help you out.

            Let’s say there was 200 people there. Let’s say that 50 of them got ‘free’ early on in the incident – earlier than the manager seeing the victim shot.

            Thats 50 phones potentially calling 999 at the same time which is probably enough to jam it up a bit (again, an assumption) I don’t know that they all called 999 but i also dont know that they didnt. Who know’s what the cause of the delay was but like I said, it’s not even close to an issue in this.

          2. Fergus the magic postman

            Oh your right. The inability to contact Gardaí in a situation involving an incident with a couple of hundred people is not an issue. It shouldn’t be looked into to try and improve things in this area in the future.
            You’ve enlightened me. How silly I was.

          3. rotide

            Do you employ any critical thinking whatsoever?

            The station WAS contacted….by someone else. Hence the guards arriving before this guys mate would have had a chance to do anything,

          4. Anne

            “The station WAS contacted….by someone else.”

            Why employ critical thinking, when we have psychic Rotsey on the case.
            Who Rotsey, who got through.. tell us ?

          5. Fergus the magic postman

            Should the emergency operator not have been able to tell him that Gardaí were already on their way? Rather than trying to put him through to the same station that they’ve been putting all the other calls through to?

            It must require great levels of critical thinking, when your default mode is to try to come up with ways to contradict everybody else.

          6. Anne

            You’ll pulled 200 people there out of your posterior, and you really don’t know who was the first to make the call to the emergency services..

            The managing director implies that he was one of the first to call, saying he wanted them to be apprehended immediately. Also from the timeline of the events as he describes them, he seems to be one of the first to call.

            Even after he got through on the third attempt, he was waiting for someone to pick up at wherever he was being transferred to at “the Dublin division”.

            “Well the person I spoke to on the phone, I explained what happened, and he then said, ‘I’ll put you through to the Dublin division’. Then I could just hear the phone ringing and ringing and ringing out for, I don’t know, maybe 20/25 seconds. And twice he came on and said, ‘look they’ll answer, they will answer eventually,’ or ‘they’re about to answer’ or something like that…”

          7. rotide

            it’s a good thing you have those tits that get you what you want in life*, you’d be in a bit of trouble otherwise.

            *by your own admission

          8. Anne

            I love it when you just give in like that.. It aint my breasticles that has me winning the argument with you every time Rotsey.

          9. Anne

            They probably don’t read his comments Fergus.
            In fairness, you’d be tormented.

            And I think you’re allowed laugh at your own comments. You can even put an LOL if you want.. Unless there are some internets rules somewhere that I missed.
            You’d hardly be in stitches from the likes of Rotsey there like. :)

        2. han solo's carbonite dream

          the gardai were there in 4 min – i read elsewhere.
          seems a reasonable time to me.

          this fella (McGettigan) has been all over the news basking the glory of his 15 mins of fame.
          press quotes out the ass. A reasonable person would have the hotel issue a press release and leave it at that . but no…not this lad.
          Has he considered that maybe somebody else rang the gardai and all was good in that regard and his personal line to 999 is not the be-all-end-all.

          1. Anne

            “Has he considered that maybe somebody else rang the gardai ”

            If everyone was to think like that, they’d be nothing reported.

    1. Kdoc1

      I have a good deal of experience of how the emergency system works. When a member of the public dials 999 you are answered ‘instantly’ by an operator who will ask, ‘what service do you require: Ambulance, Fire Brigade or Gardaí. When you state your emergency and location the operator will call the service required. I imagine what happened on Friday was that many calls were being made to the Gardaí regarding the same incident – hence the delay from the Gardaí answering every incoming call. I know from my experience that many calls are received for even quite minor incidents, so it’s reasonable to assume that everyone who had a phone at or near the hotel on Friday was making calls to the emergency service.

  2. DubLoony

    When you ring 999, you get the “which service?” (Ambulance, fire or gardai), they ask where you are and then put you through to the correct division. The whole thing does take about 30 seconds.

    But those 30 seconds will feel like the longest of your life.

      1. Kdoc1

        I mentioned, in reply to another comment, that when you ring 999/112 you are answered immediately. The operator then transfers you to the service you require: Ambulance, Fire Brigade Gardai and less frequently, Coastguard. For the initial operator response no answer EVER takes 3 minutes – it’s instant. There may be a delay transferring the call to the Gardaí when there is an enormous volume of incoming calls to them – most likely for the same incident.

    1. Anne

      That’s a bit poo when you’re in a emergency like..” What service, where are you”? etc.. And then you’ll be transferred to the local station where the garda might be on a donut break..

      1. Starina

        I’ve often wondered about that, like if my house is being robbed and i’m in it, do i have to be put on hold and wait for an answer?

        1. Anne

          Yeah Starina, that’s about the size of it.. regardless if your house is being robbed or there are men with AK47s assassinating people at a hotel.

          1. Starina

            So much for those scenes in American movies where a girl hides under the bed and manages to convey her address in 10 seconds

        1. Kdoc1

          Since it’s inception, the dept. of Post & Telegraghs / Telecom Eireann / Eircom managed the service. In recent years it has been privatised and I understand it’s being run jointly by Conduit and BT.

    2. ahjayzis

      Longer still if you then have to explain how to get to places as far-flung and remote as Celbridge to an ambulance driver who clearly hasn’t a clue while a loved one is in trouble.

    1. ahjayzis

      I think we need to stop using that word and ‘dissident’ for them. They’re drug-dealing, racketeering vermin. Calling them ‘dissidents’ makes it sound political, when it’s business.

  3. Kolmo

    Makes the Gardai look bad – no stone will be left unturned looking for the culprits.

    When the General was killed in the 90’s, every two-bit thug was claiming responsibility for it….wonder if this is the same

    1. rotide

      Everyone knew as soon as the shell casings hit the ground who had killed the General

      No other claims were ever taken seriously

  4. b

    this whole 999 response story seems to be predicated on the manager thinking he was the only one in the hotel to call 999?

    1. theCitizen

      After he witnessed the assassination, after walking to the front door from the bar, after checking the car park, after he ran shouting past one of his young employees to lock himself in a room which he refused to open even though she was banging on the door, he still found time to think he was the first person to call 999.

      Sound like any general manager I’ve ever known.

  5. Tish Mahorey

    The uniforms (particularly the helmets) look nothing like the Garda ERU uniforms. The only similarity was the word ‘Garda’ in yellow.

    And it sounds entirely implausible that the CIRA are involved in this. Makes no sense at all. And the BBC couldn’t verify the password used which means it wasn’t them.

    This is a DUP and Fine Gael slur to associate this act with Republicanism even though the CIRA hate Sinn Fein. But most people are idiots when it comes to facts that actually matter so they’ll lap it up anyway.

      1. ahjayzis

        Au contraire!

        A blonde wig was mentioned. This is clearly Clare Daly and Mick Wallace framing Enda and Leo framing Gerry and Mary Lou framing the ContoIRA

      2. Tish Mahorey

        You know what’s possible Rotide. You know what Fine Gael backers (local and international) will do to keep Sinn Fein out of Government.

        1. rotide

          Not only do i know whats possible, I can see it all unfold from my seat at Blueshirt Secret HQ. We have a camera trained on your premises Tish and we’re listening with our UN stealth tech

    1. Rob_G

      Incidents like this makes Gerry’s attempts to abolish the Special Criminal Court all the more worrying.

      1. Tish Mahorey

        No they don’t.

        The police and courts system should be able to operate juror courts in ALL cases.

        The SCC is an excuse to keep a non jury court to protect the political status quo. It will be used to jail anyone who looks like a real political threat to the established system.

  6. Roger

    I rang 999, asked for ‘police’ and was corrected by a woman with a very annoyed tone who said ‘Garda?’. Next time I called 999 I asked for ‘Garda’ and was corrected by a woman with a very annoyed tone who said ‘Gardai?’. The emergency in question took second place to semantics. What’s a few seconds in a life or death situation eh?

  7. Truth in the News

    All 999 calls are recorded and the exact time logged, all we need to know
    when were the Guards alerted, how many calls were made and from what
    numbers, also that Garda Divisional level emergency type phone traffic is
    recorded, James Mcgettigan is entitled to a full explanation as why he was
    unsuccesful and had to contact the Gardai by an alternative method.
    This a job for GSOC and this new Authority chaired by Madame Feeley.

Comments are closed.