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Major security operation in Dublin city centre as 500 attend funeral of Regency Hotel shooting victim David Byrne

Published 15/02/2016

The coffin is carried into St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street in Dublin, during the funeral of David Byrne, who was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The coffin is carried into St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street in Dublin, during the funeral of David Byrne, who was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Eight young men wearing dark blue suits have carried the coffin of Dublin murder victim David Byrne (34) into his funeral Mass.

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.

In the region of 500 mourners attended the funeral at the church of St Nicolas of Myra on Francis Street in Dublin 8.

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 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 people lined the narrow grounds and the street outside as the American style casket holding Byrne's body was shouldered past the crowd on Monday.

Eight young men in dark blue suits and with blue shirts and dark blue ties carried the coffin into the church. It is understood that the predominant blue colouring is a reference to a sporting team supported by Mr Byrne.

A lone piper played a lament while a large floral tribute with a picture of Byrne at its centre was also carried in.

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.

There was a significant garda presence at the funeral, with officers keeping press photographers and videographers about 150 metres from the church gates which are locked.

A floral tribute with a photograph of David Byrne is carried by a mourner into St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street in Dublin, ahead of his funeral, after he was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles. Niall Carson/PA Wire
A floral tribute with a photograph of David Byrne is carried by a mourner into St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street in Dublin, ahead of his funeral, after he was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Signs on the gates of the church stated no photography or audio or video recordings would be permitted within the church grounds.

Francis Street itself was closed while the funeral was underway, along with a number of business premises on the street.

At around 12.20pm approximately 12 limousines left Mr Byrne's home at Raleigh Square and made their way slowly to the church.

The route for the transport had been agreed in advance with gardai lining up along the road from Crumlin to Francis Street.

Another group of young men, also attired in blue, headed the cortege along St Francis St behind the lone piper.

There were three horse-drawn floral tributes, including one designed in the shape of a boxing ring.

Some of Mr Byrne's relatives are from the Liberties around the Francis Street parish.

Uniformed gardai were on duty on streets in the area from early morning following Sunday's security sweeps in the church and along the route.

The bomb squad was called in to carry out some of the checks.

The hearse arrives at St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street in Dublin, during the funeral of David Byrne, who was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The hearse arrives at St Nicholas of Myra church on Francis Street in Dublin, during the funeral of David Byrne, who was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on Friday February 5 by a six strong gang, some armed with assault rifles. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Several units of armed detectives were on foot on the narrow streets around the church.

Additional heavily armed teams from the Emergency Response Unit circled the area in cars and 4x4s before and during the mass. The Garda helicopter was deployed overhead.

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 suspected dissident republican involvement 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.

Irish Independent

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