Security tight as crime boss's brother killed in Dublin gang war is laid to rest
Heavily armed police manned the inner city streets of Dublin in a major security operation during the funeral of the latest victim in a bloody tit-for-tat gangland feud.
A Garda helicopter flew overhead throughout the service for Eddie Hutch snr while sniffer dogs carried out a sweep of Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street beforehand to check for explosives.
Hundreds turned out on sealed-off streets to pay their final respects to the 59-year-old taxi driver, who was murdered in his home on nearby Poplar Row on February 8.
It is believed that Mr Hutch, who was not involved in organised crime, was killed as a "soft target" for his family connections in a reprisal for the shooting of suspected gangland figure David Byrne days earlier. Byrne's murder during a packed boxing bout weigh-in at the city's Regency Hotel was a suspected retaliation for the shooting dead of Mr Hutch's nephew Gary Hutch in the Costa del Sol in Spain last September.
Eddie snr was also the brother of Gerry Hutch, who carries the nickname 'The Monk'.
His taxi sign was placed on top of his coffin as it was taken from his sister's home to the church.
Floral wreaths in the hearse spelled out 'Taxi', 'Gentleman', 'Granddad', 'Dad' and 'Uncle'.
Father Richard Ebejer told the funeral Mass that the blood-letting had spiralled out of control, leaving affected families grieving in pain and the whole nation in the throes of shock.
"Nobody deserves to die in the way that Neddy died," the priest said.
At least four masked men were involved in the murder just off North Strand on Dublin's north side.
The BMW 3 Series used in the cold-blooded killing was found abandoned a short distance away near Drumcondra.
Mr Hutch "was basically a good man who would, as a taxi driver, wait for elderly lady passengers as they did their errands - he would share a good joke and was the life of a party, and he was good company in the pub", Fr Ebejer told mourners.
"He did not deserve to die in this manner," he added.