Mass recalls family man who walked his rabbit Snowy as life of crime is overlooked
Published 16/02/2016 | 02:30
David Byrne was considered to be one of the nation's key drug importers and inflicted pain and hardship on countless families - but yesterday his friends remembered him as 'Happy Harry'.
The 34-year-old father of two was a key player in the Kinahan criminal empire and was responsible for flooding our streets with narcotics.
He had expensive tastes and lived lavishly, splashing much of his ill-gotten gains on expensive cars and motorbikes.
Yesterday, his loved ones made sure that his luxurious taste lived on after him, spending an estimated €65,000 on his send-off.
Those who knew him chose not to remember him as a gangland kingpin who was both feared and revered by his peers.
They preferred to remember him instead as a "family man" and a "messer".
Celebrant Fr Niall Coghlan, speaking about Byrne's brutal death, questioned whether the killers would have shot Byrne if they had seen a film of his life, which he said would have portrayed him as both a loving partner and a father.
Nicknamed 'Happy Harry' by his mother, the Crumlin man was known for his trained pet rabbit Snowy and was often spotted out and about walking the animal on a leash.
His brother Richard spoke fondly of his sibling's love for the pet, who he had taught to come when his name was called.
Laughter broke out in the Francis Street church as his brother recalled an occasion that Byrne had lost a bet with him.
The congregation laughed when he said that his brother had to go to the local garage dressed in his mother's fur coat and a leotard.
Another brother and fellow criminal of the deceased, Liam Byrne, thanked everyone who had come along to pay their respects. He was in the Regency Hotel alongside his brother when gunmen stormed the building some 11 days ago and shot the gangster at point-blank range.