Belfast Telegraph

Dublin a city on tenterhooks as pictures emerge of Eddie Hutch Snr's bullet ridden home after fatal shooting

Brother of 'The Monk' shot dead in his home

Dublin woke up on tenterhooks this morning as gardai mounted armed checkpoints on the streets of the capital after the murder of Eddie Hutch Senior.

Pictures this morning showed the shattered glass of Eddie Hutch's Snr's front door as gardai continued their investigations at his family home on Poplar Row, off the North Strand in Dublin's city centre.

Armed gardai were at checkpoints throughout the city after the brother of veteran crime boss Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch was shot dead last night as the gangland feud escalated in Dublin city centre.

Eddie Hutch Snr was gunned down at a Hutch family home on Poplar Row, off the North Strand, in retaliation for the Regency Hotel shooting three days earlier.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, The President of the Garda Representative Association Dermot O'Brien said the association was looking for "the immediate introduction of MP7 sub machine gun for the DDU and the return of the uzi sub machine gun until the MP7 is introduced."

Armed officers had been patrolling the streets of the capital since Friday's shooting, which claimed the life of David Byrne - a key member of an international drug gang run by Dubliner Christy Kinahan.

The feud has put crime at the centre of the election campaign - and placed further pressure on Sinn Féin's stance of scrapping the Special Criminal Court.

Yesterday, senior detectives from across the Dublin Metropolitan Region met to discuss a city-wide operation to prevent a further escalation in the tense feud that has rocked gangland.

However, it appeared the Kinahan cartel had wasted no time in seeking revenge against the Hutch family.

Eddie, a taxi driver in his 50s who was a father of five, was gunned down in cold blood by a gang of four men who burst into his home at 7.45pm last night.

Two of the men are believed to have escaped in a car which was later found dumped in nearby St Patrick's Parade, Drumcondra. It was found undamaged, even though a can of petrol inside the vehicle indicated that the intention had been to destroy it.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the murder was a deplorable example of the ruthlessness of gangland criminals.

"It seems that some gangs are intent on waging a feud where human life counts for nothing," she said.

"The gardaí will take all necessary steps to try to prevent further bloodshed but we have to recognise the challenges they face.

"Members of gangs who have fears for their safety should come forward to the gardaí."

The Justice Minister will hold talks with Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan and her senior officers today.

David Byrne (34), from Crumlin, was shot dead at a Dublin hotel last Friday by associates of Gary Hutch - nephew of Eddie and 'The Monk' - in retaliation for Gary's murder in Spain last September.

Eddie Hutch was not considered to be a violent criminal and tended to stay in the background.

He had a number of convictions for small-time fraud and shoplifting and was suspected of helping to launder some of the proceeds from heists masterminded by his brother Gerry.

Eddie was also one of a large group of the Monk's associates targeted in Operation Alpha, the first major investigation launched by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) shortly after it was established in 1996.

As part of the inquiry, which lasted more than 10 years, the CAB seized a bank account in Eddie Hutch's name which contained over €156,000.

Tensions were on a knife-edge last night as more than 100 people streamed on to the streets and gathered outside the house where his body lay.

The shocking attack occurred in what senior sources last night described as the Hutch's 'inner city stronghold'.

It is understood members of Eddie's family, including his partner, were in the house at the time. An elderly woman could be seen on the street being consoled just 15 minutes after the shooting.

A source said Eddie was considered a "seriously soft target" as he struggled with addiction.

Less than an hour after the shooting in the north inner city gardaí were investigating reports of shots fired in Tallaght. However, there was no reports of any injuries in that incident.

Sources said this was a tactic used by a south Dublin criminal in the past to divert Garda resources away from crime scenes.

Cllr Burke said Eddie Hutch was shot dead solely because of his name.

"This is what it has come to -you can be shot dead because of your name. If they can't get who they want, they'll find a relative. It's shocking," said Cllr Burke.

"The gardaí have lost it, in my opinion. They don't have the resources they need and ordinary citizens need protecting.

"There were armed checkpoints around the city last night and all weekend, and still this happened.

"I think the Justice Minister is not in touch with the reality of what is going on either," he said.

Detectives are satisfied the Hutch crime gang was responsible for the Regency Hotel shooting.

Senior sources confirmed they do not suspect a hit team was brought in from abroad for that attack and also dismissed claims by the Continuity IRA (CIRA) that it was responsible for the murder of David Byrne as "not credible and opportunistic".

Gardaí have informally identified one of the hitmen involved in the Regency Hotel shooting.

The suspect, who dressed as a woman during the audacious attack, was photographed as he and an accomplice ran from the hotel with automatic pistols clearly visible in their hands.

It is understood the thug is in his 20s and from the north inner city. He had been lying low since the execution in Spain last year of his close friend Gary Hutch by the Kinahan international crime cartel.

That murder sparked what could be the biggest gang war in the history of organised crime in Ireland.

Gardaí believe the 'couple', both armed with handguns, were sent in to spot their intended targets - Christy Kinahan's son Daniel and the murdered man's brother Liam Byrne.

Daniel Kinahan, who had organised the boxing tournament, made his escape through a window while Byrne ran upstairs and locked himself in a hotel room.

Last night there were calls for Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to fully explain the absence of gardaí from the boxing event.

Four undercover journalists from Independent News & Media were at the weigh-in, as it was known several members of the Kinahan crime gang would attend.

The Government is also under pressure over the failure to place garda patrols at the Regency Hotel.

Following a phone briefing by the Garda Commissioner yesterday morning, Ms Fitzgerald said she was not prepared to "second-guess" the decision-making of senior gardaí in relation to operational matters.

"They have no intelligence which they believe would have warranted their presence there.

"The harsh reality is that intelligence is not always available in relation to committing of crime," Ms Fitzgerald said.

When pressed on how the gardaí did not have the intelligence given that it had been reported in the media that gang members were planning to attend boxing events, Ms Fitzgerald said gardaí make decisions on surveillance on a day-to-day basis.

"This was an operational decision taken by An Garda Síochána. Clearly, you're saying that was reported, the gardaí would have taken everything into account when they make these operational decisions," she said.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins last night condemned the latest killings.

He said the public's shock and fear is not helped by the fact that, despite media reports of gangland interest ahead of the event, there wasn't a single garda at the Regency. He called on the commissioner to explain why.

"The Justice Minister simply shrugs and describes it as an operational matter, but that's not good enough. The critical question she should be asking is: 'Why'?" Mr Collins said.

"If it is known that high profile and very dangerous criminals engaged in a feud are going to be attending a public event, surely the very least the public have a right to expect is that undercover gardaí will also be there?

"My fear is that the very real shortage of gardaí and the strain on resources within the force are having a seriously detrimental effect on the fight against these thugs."

Paul Williams, Cormac McQuinn and Kevin Doyle , Irish Independent

Irish Independent


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