A strong but discreet garda presence shadowed the funeral of gangster Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh in his native Drimnagh amid fears of trouble surrounding the high-profile event.
There was tension in the air as relatives and friends gathered from Ireland, the UK and Spain as his black casket was carried the short distance from his home to the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel on Mourne Road.
The casket carrying his remains was so large that the front window of the house had to be taken out for him to be waked.
Kavanagh (44) was gunned down in a ruthless assassination while he was at an Irish bar in upmarket Elviria, near Marbella, Spain.
He was a senior member and enforcer for the Christy Kinahan international crime gang.
Kavanagh’s body was flown back from Spain to the family home on Friday.
He had been living in Spain in recent years but also spent time in Boston where he was involved in the business of professional boxing.
Garda sources say Kavanagh had spent some time in Dublin earlier this year trying to collect money owed to Kinahan’s cartel, but he left after an attempt on his life by a Clondalkin based gang believed to be responsible for the murder of another Kinahan associate - Jason Carroll.
He was shot nine times by two masked men as he sipped a beer at Harmon’s Irish bar in Elviria near Marbella on September 6.
Police in Spain have asked for Garda help in the investigation.
Unmarked garda cars driven by detectives could be seen circulating around the roads of Drimnagh during the funeral mass, but no uniformed gardai were obviously visible.
The Emergency Response Unit were also on stand-by for the service which was attended by family and close associates of the murdered man.
During the funeral mass a pair of boxing gloves were among gifts brought to the altar, and two soloists sang powerfully emotional versions of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
“The death of someone like Gerard leaves us numb. Words are so inadequate. We have many questions, but few answers,” said Fr Sean McArdle.
“Gerard’s death has brought great sadness to you his family,” he added.
During the prayers of the faithful, Kavanagh’s daughter Kyah said she would always miss him.
He was remembered by an uncle as a family man and a man who loved children, and a man who taught all his young relations how to swim.
“He had a great love for children. He always said they love you unconditionally and never expected anything back,” he said on behalf of the family.
He also remembered Kavanagh as being a food lover who was always hungry, and how people would know when he was home because his mother’s fridge would be “full to the hilt with cakes, sweets and steak”.
“He was always hungry. One of his favourite sayings was ‘girls, what’s on the menu?’,” he said to the laughter of the mourners.
His uncle referred to Kavanagh as ‘Goldenboy’ and told how he had moved to Spain 13 years ago with his wife Tracey and children Jamie and Kyah.
“But every time he came home he was like Santa Claus because he would have presents for everybody. He would never come back empty-handed,” said his uncle.
“Anyone here will know that family was the most important thing to Gerard, and once you were his friend you were family.”
After the funeral mass a group of press photographers were confronted by a group of men who hit their car and shouted abuse at them.
Kavanagh was buried following the funeral mass in Palmerstown cemetery.