NewsCrime Desk

Cops to quiz John-Joe Nevin's family Communion brawl

John Joe Nevin
John Joe Nevin

GARDAI want to question up to 30 members of Olympic boxer John Joe Nevin’s extended family after a Holy Communion celebration descended into a mass brawl.

Between 20 and 30 members of the Nevin family fought a pitched battle involving broken bottles and glasses during a brawl in Feerick’s Hotel in Rathowen, Co Westmeath last weekend, say eye witnesses.

During a melee at the hotel that left staff “utterly traumatised”, hotel owner John Feerick was assaulted and damage was caused to the car of a close family member of boxer John Joe.

However, when contacted about the incident on Friday, John Joe Nevin told the Sunday World: “I was not there, that’s the first I heard of it.”

A source told the Sunday World that a large party from the extended Nevin clan had booked a celebration at Feerick’s under a false name.

“In total we’re talking about roughly 100 members of the extended clan being present when a brawl erupted at 8.30pm,” a source told the Sunday World.

“Things were passing off peacefully enough when an argument broke out and then about 20 or 30 people milled in. Bottles and glasses were smashed and openly brandished as weapons. All hell broke loose.

“It went on for between 10 and 20 minutes and spilled outside the hotel as well. Staff members were utterly traumatised. John Feerick attempted to intervene to pacify the situation and he too was assaulted,” it was claimed.

The source continued that one member of the Nevin clan was chased from the hotel out to a car park where he sought refuge in a car registered to a family member of John Joe.

“There were people trying to get in at him and that’s the car that was damaged,” he added.

Gardaí have confirmed to the Sunday World that terrified staff members who were forced into side rooms in a bid to escape the melee raised the alarm at approximately 8.30pm.

A spokesperson said: “Gardaí at Multyfarnham are investigating a public order incident that occurred at a premises in Rathowen shortly after 8.30pm on Sunday last.

“A large number of people were attending an event at the premises in question. A number of these people became involved in an altercation.

“A substantial amount of damage was caused to the premises and a male in his late 50s was the subject of an alleged assault.

“An investigation is now underway.”
Investigating gardaí have obtained large amounts of CCTV which they believe will help them identify the main culprits in the incident.

Contacted on Friday, hotel owner John Feerick said he did not wish to comment.

“The matter is with the Gardaí now and they’re investigating. I’d prefer to leave it with them,” he told the Sunday World.

Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information regarding the incident to contact them.

In April 2014 John Joe’s professional career was plunged into doubt when he suffered a broken leg during a fracas in Mullingar.

It later emerged the fighter had suffered injuries to both legs inflicted with a golf club, but has since successfully made a comeback in the ring.

Earlier this week, it emerged he and fellow former Irish Olympians who turned professional will be given the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time this summer.

Boxing has always been an amateur discipline in the Games, but that will change this summer.

The news means that former Irish Olympians such as John Joe Nevin or Andy Lee could theoretically try and qualify for the Games.

But John Joe blew the idea out of the water this weekend, saying: “It’s not really something I’d be interested in. I’ve done everything I have to do in amateur.

“It’s a bad idea and I don’t agree with it. For starters, they’ve also taken the headgear away and when you have amateurs fighting every three days in a competition, then one cut to the face could disqualify them,” he added.

“Secondly, a good amateur is used to fighting three quick rounds, while a professional is trained to start slow and go a full 12 rounds. A good amateur would have the advantage there.”