Prison officers criticised for saving inmate from 'being hacked to pieces'
Brave prison officers were criticised by the public after stepping in to save the life of Derek 'Del Boy' Hutch during a vicious stabbing attack, it has emerged.
The convicted killer was lucky to be alive after being set upon in the exercise yard of Mountjoy prison last year.
The attack came just two weeks after his brother Gary was shot dead in Costa del Sol.
Gary Hutch's murder led to his associates launching the now infamous attack on the Regency Hotel and the murder of David Byrne (34), which escalated the feud between the Kinahan cartel and associates of Hutch.
Speaking ahead of the Prison Officers Association's annual conference in Athlone today, POA president Stephen Delaney - who did not name Derek Hutch - told how staff were lambasted online for intervening in the attack.
It is believed the attack was carried out on the orders of the Christy Kinahan drug cartel.
Mr Delaney said: "Most online comments afterwards were asking - 'why did they bother? They should have let him die'.
"But for prison officers, the obvious question is why are vicious gang members allowed to congregate and carry out such an assault?"
Brothers Jamie and Leon Griffin are believed to have pounced on the 27-year-old in the exercise yard of the jail for a €10,000 bounty from Spain.
Derek Hutch, the nephew of crime boss Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, escaped with defensive slash wounds to his arms after unarmed officers put their own lives at risk to save him.
"Three of our colleagues went into a crowded Mountjoy exercise yard where a relation of one of the main protagonists in the current feud was being hacked to pieces," Mr Delaney said. "The three officers, using bare hands and courage only, pulled him from certain death.
"Time and time again we have raised the issue of gangs within our prison system. What is different this year is that we may actually get a hearing, arising from the horrendous feud that has erupted on our streets."
Calling for gang members to be isolated, Mr Delaney warned that a prison murder could have "immediate and terrible ramifications" on the outside.
"Why should prison officers have to charge into an exercise yard to do the right thing? Why have we not established a system of isolation, where membership of these gangs has a limiting benefit, and based upon hard-earned garda and prison-based intelligence, these gangs and their members are isolated?"
Urging Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to help "remove the power from the gangs in prison", Mr Delaney added: "We are allowing a status quo to exist which appeases the bully and the gang - and this is not acceptable. In the present prison environment gang membership is flaunted for the purpose of intimidating the neutral and the frustration of the officer."