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Large Garda presence at funeral of boxing weigh-in murder victim David Byrne

Published 15/02/2016

Armed Gardai from the forces Emergency Response Unit were on patrol for the funeral
Armed Gardai from the forces Emergency Response Unit were on patrol for the funeral

Dozens of armed police have led a massive security operation in central Dublin at the funeral of one of the victims of a bloody gangland feud.

David Byrne, 34, was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles.

Amid a heavy Garda presence, eight men wearing light blue shirts and dark blue ties carried Byrne's coffin, a sky blue American style casket, across Francis Street in Dublin's Liberties into the Church of St Nicholas of Myra.

A lone piper played a lament as two large floral tributes, one of which had a photo of Byrne at its centre, were brought through the crowd.

During the Mass Martin Dolan, administrator of the Francis Street parish, told mourners that gangster Byrne was a loving father and parent with a big sense of humour.

He said his killers would have to be dehumanised.

After the service two bikers from the Chosen Few club led the cortege away from the church grounds.

Two hearses, one carrying the coffin and another holding floral tributes, edged down Francis Street behind them with hundreds of people walking behind.

Many of the men at the front wore suits and blue shirts and dark blue ties.

Ten black Mercedes limousines were used by relatives, with many of the women covering their faces from onlookers with scarves.

Two horse drawn carriages carried floral tributes which included bouquets inscribed with "uncle", "best pal", others with the name "Dots" and one in the shape of a boxing ring.

Traffic on surrounding streets was stopped for several minutes to allow the cortege to travel two miles uninterrupted to Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold's Cross.

Byrne, a father of two, lived in Crumlin and was said to have been associated with an international drugs gang operating out of the south of Spain.

Murder squad detectives believe his murder was retaliation for the shooting dead of Gary Hutch on the Costa del Sol last September.

Byrne's killing was subsequently avenged three days later with the murder in his Dublin home of Eddie Hutch, 55, brother of suspected armed robber Gerry Hutch, known as the Monk.

Scores of onlookers gathered on streets near the church for a glimpse of the cortege leaving the church.

Uniformed gardai were on the streets before and during the Mass, backed up by several units of armed detectives on foot.

Teams from the more heavily armed emergency response unit circled nearby streets in cars and 4x4s from mid-morning until after the service.

The Garda helicopter was deployed overhead.

Many of the antique shops on Francis Street pulled their shutters down while the Mass took place.

Among the mourners, it is believed, were Daniel Kinahan and his brother Christy Junior - who flew into Dublin Airport last night.

Their father is Christy Kinahan senior, 58 and originally from Dublin's south inner city, who was arrested in a mansion in Spain in 2010 as part of an investigation into an international drugs and money laundering racket. Kinahan senior has not been charged.

Son Daniel, who manages boxers out of the MGM Marbella gym, had been in the Regency for the weigh-in when the hit squad struck in front of hundreds of people.

Gardai have said they are keeping an open mind over the involvement of suspected dissident republicans in the hotel killing.

The Kinahans are understood to be embroiled in a bitter feud with the Hutch family which turned bloody last September when Gary Hutch was shot dead in Spain.

He was a nephew of the latest gangland victim Eddie Hutch and also Gerry Hutch.

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