'Monk' keeps low profile as his brother is laid to rest
Funeral of slain Eddie Hutch overseen by 100 armed gardaí
If it wasn't for the scores of heavily armed gardaí and a helicopter hovering overhead, this could have been any other funeral in north Dublin.
In stark contrast to the statement made at the funeral of drug dealer David Byrne in Crumlin last week, there were no metal coffin, matching uniforms or long lines of limousines to take innocent Eddie Hutch Snr to his final resting place.
Mr Hutch (58) was gunned down at his Ballybough home in Poplar Row by a four-man hit-team in what is believed to have been a revenge attack for the murder of Byrne (35) in the Regency Hotel.
Among the mourners was his younger brother, veteran gangland figure Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, who kept a low profile throughout proceedings.
Wearing a black baseball cap, dressed in a black jacket and sporting unfamiliar, long, greying, black hair, the former gangster looked almost unrecognisable as he melted into the large crowd to mourn his beloved brother.
He slipped into the church of Our Lady of Lourdes on Sean McDermott Street in Dublin's north inner city almost unnoticed shortly after 11am, and made a swift exit when it ended.
He was not part of the procession to carry the coffin, nor did he join family members in one of the three limousines that left the church following the mass.
As the funeral procession for Dublin's latest gangland victim moved slowly moved through the city, more than 100 armed and uniformed gardaí were stationed on the streets, with several areas in lockdown.
Sniffer dogs carried out sweeps of both the church and the cemetery before the service.
Among those spotted at yesterday's mass was one of the suspects in the killing of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel. But despite this and the serious threat against 'The Monk', the funeral passed off without incident.
Instead Eddie Snr, who was not believed to have been involved in crime, was remembered as a family man who provided an important service to the community as a taxi driver.
Scores of mourners had turned out at the home of their sister Margaret to pay their respects to her murdered brother.
Sympathisers brought floral tributes as they entered the north Dublin home, where the body of Mr Hutch was being waked.
The coffin was topped with a small taxi plate as it was carried the short distance from his sister's home to the church.
The plate was later offered as a gift to the altar, along with items that represented Mr Hutch as a family man.
Floral tributes on the hearse spelled out "gentleman," "granddad," "uncle" and "dad".
Up to 400 people had arrived at the funeral, with standing room only at the back of the church. There were also large crowds gathered outside. Dublin councillor Christy Burke was among those in attendance.
Presiding over the funeral mass, Fr Richard Ebejer said that nobody deserved to die in the way Mr Hutch had.
He called for an end to the spiral of violence. "One does not want to seek revenge or to have retaliation," he said in his homily. "This is what the family had asked for, right from the very beginning, that there will be no retaliation.
"This is indeed 'goodness' in the face of evil. They now call on everybody for this cycle of violence to stop, and to stop now," he said.
"Nobody deserves to die in the way Neddy died."
The priest described the taxi driver as a good man who loved a good joke.
Fr Ebejer read a gospel that he said was not chosen in particular for "this sad occasion, but it does speak to the reality we are facing".
The priest alluded to the recent increase in gangland violence in the capital, a situation he said that had shocked the whole nation.
"We are all aware of the circumstances of Neddy's death, circumstances that have spiralled out of control, circumstances that have left families grieving in shock and pain," he said.
The priest said that the area in which the Hutch family lived, inner city Dublin, had a great history of people looking out for one another when times got hard.
"It would be a tragedy if we were to lose that sense of good Dublin values," he added. He concluded by saying: "May Neddy Hutch rest in peace; may God have mercy on his soul, and reward him for his goodness, real Dublin goodness."
After the funeral, the Hutch family and friends retreated to a north Dublin pub.
It is unclear now whether Gerry Hutch will return to his Spanish hideout, or remain in the country.
His discreet appearance at his brother's funeral came after gardaí informed him on Wednesday that there was a serious threat to his life.
As part of the ongoing feud with the Christy Kinahan drug cartel, officers from Clontarf are believed to have served official documents to Gerry Hutch, in which he was advised that detectives have credible information that he was in grave danger.
Eddie Hutch Snr was the second victim of the gangland feud in the family in less than a year. His nephew Gary Hutch (34) was shot dead in the Costa del Sol, Spain, last September.
Now fear continues to grip the north Dublin community as tit-for-tat gangland killing threatens to spiral into a further orgy of violence.
Eddie Hutch Snr is survived by his wife Margaret and sons Edward, Gavin, Alan and Ross. Another son, Christopher, died several years ago.