Saturday 22 October 2016

Funerals that show the gangs must be reined in

Published 20/02/2016 | 02:30

Garda sniffer dogs patrol the area around Our of Lourdes Church in Dublin before the funeral of Eddie Hutch senior.
Garda sniffer dogs patrol the area around Our of Lourdes Church in Dublin before the funeral of Eddie Hutch senior.

It’s unlikely that Eddie Hutch, a taxi driver, ever imagined his exit from this world would be watched by a cordon of heavily armed gardaí. In the grudge-driven reasoning of gangland that has a chokehold on parts of our capital, the fact that Mr Hutch was an innocent working man meant nothing. He was, darkly, deemed expendable in a blood feud in which it was recognised he had played no part. 

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Yesterday, his funeral Mass in Dublin heard an appeal for there to be no retaliation for his callous murder.

There was none of the strut and swagger that attended the burial of David Byrne earlier in the week. Mr Hutch’s brother Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch was among the congregation.

Once more the words of Matthew’s Gospel – urging listeners not to kill – were heard. Once more a priest – this time it was Fr Richard Ebejer – told mourners that vengeful violence “only degrades the humanity of those who carry it out”.

He pleaded for an end to the cycle of violence, a call echoed by the Hutch family, who had also appealed for there to be no more killing. In an earlier appeal for an end to the killings, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin also pointed out that “every victim is some mother’s son”. Gardaí are in no doubt that Mr Hutch was singled out simply because he was a member of the Hutch family.

The fact that the Emergency Response Unit was called in to patrol the city’s streets twice in a week marks a sinister turn in the dark history of the criminal underworld.

For the first time, detectives believed that funerals might be a potential target for attack. Clearly, events have been allowed to spiral out of control. It is not acceptable in a civic society that armed gardaí should be called in to protect mourners.

There are myriad reasons why gangs have been able to prosper, murder and intimidate – but there are no reasons  for them to ever be allowed feel complacent. It is they, not the ordinary people of our cities, who should be made fearful and  have cause to be looking over their shoulders.

Irish Independent

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