Staunton threatened with gun outside Irish team hotel

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The Independent Online

Steve Staunton, the manager of the Republic of Ireland, was last night threatened at gunpoint outside the team hotel near Dublin.

Staunton was unhurt in the incident, which happened at about 8pm, after he was approached by a man in the hotel's car park while making a mobile phone call.

The man is believed to have become abusive before pulling a gun on Staunton, who escaped back into the Portmarnock Hotel. The man, in his 30s, ran off but was pursued by hotel staff and the gardai and was arrested on a nearby beach.

It is not thought Staunton was targeted in the incident, and was just unfortunate to be outside the hotel at the time. Sources said the man detained had a history of psychiatric problems.

In a statement, the Football Association of Ireland confirmed an incident had taken place. "The matter is now being dealt with by the gardai," it said. "Stephen Staunton is absolutely fine and looking forward to training tomorrow."

However, the incident is a major shock for Staunton and the Irish team ahead of their friendly tomorrow against the Netherlands.

The FAI will also review whether or not to continue using the Portmarnock Hotel, which has been the team's home base for more than three years. In November 2003, there was an armed robbery at the hotel while the Irish squad were having their evening meal.

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