Updated at 2.55 pm
THE HUTCH FAMILY have called on the ‘cycle of violence to stop now’ at the funeral of Eddie Hutch Snr, who was murdered earlier this month.
At a funeral in Dublin’s inner city that would have been unremarkable had it not been for the huge garda operation that surrounded it, Fr Richard Ebejer described Hutch as “basically a good man”.
It took place at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street today just after 11am.
A brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, the 59-year-old taxi driver was gunned down at his home on Poplar Row in Dublin’s north inner-city on the night of Monday 8 February.
Gerry Hutch was present at the funeral but did not carry the coffin and was not part of the main funeral party. He was pictured wearing a black jacket, a black baseball cap and with long grey hair.
The hearse slowly made its way down Sean McDermott Street before of the funeral with pallbearers carrying the coffin following behind.
A taxi-plate was placed on top of the coffin with floral tributes in the hearse spelling the words ‘dad’, ‘granddad’, ‘uncle’, ‘gentleman’.
Hundreds of mourners packed into the church for the funeral mass and many more remained outside for the 80 minute duration.
Armed gardaí in vans, patrol cars and blacked out jeeps patrolled the streets surrounding the church throughout the mass.
Inside, parish priest Fr Ebejer preached a message of anti-violence and forgiveness. He carried a message from the Hutch family that they want no retaliation for his murder.
A similar request was also made when Eddie Hutch’s nephew Gary Hutch was shot dead in Spain in September last.
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. It was a request that unfortunately has not been respected, with the result that now more families are in bereavement. They now call on everybody for this cycle of violence to stop, and to stop now.
A gun attack at Dublin’s Regency Hotel where David Byrne was shot dead a fortnight ago is widely seen as a retaliation the killing of Gary Hutch. Three days after Byrne was killed, Eddie Hutch Snr was shot dead at his home.
Byrne was a known associate of the Kinahan crime gang – and his and Hutch’s deaths are part of an ongoing feud between two warring sides.
Byrne’s funeral took place on Monday, with a similar large Garda operation in place to maintain safety in fear of any reprisal attacks.
Opening his homily this morning, Fr Ebejer spoke about this cycle of violence and retaliation.
In a church in which people were standing at the back and even outside, he said that “we are all aware of the circumstances of Neddy’s death”.
He added that “these circumstances have spiralled out of control”.
Fr Richard Ebejer asked that, “Neddy would be rewarded for his goodness, real Dublin goodness.”
It was not the only reference to the community during the homily.
“Inner city Dublin has a great history of people looking after one another, especially when times are hard,” the priest said.
He told mourners that “all vengeful violence is to be condemned in the strongest terms possible”.
“It only degrades the humanity of those who carry it out. Nobody deserves to die in the way that Neddy died,” he said.
‘A decent guy’
In a message that sought to argue against any possible reprisals, Fr Ebejer said that “forgiveness is not a sentimental feeling, but very often it involves a decision”.
He said that Jesus made a decision to “forgive his enemies”.
Before offerings were given up to the altar, the song How Can You Mend a Broken Heart was sung as well as two other religious hymns.
Two taxi drivers who were friends and colleagues of Hutch also offered tributes.
Following Hutch’s death, locals living near Poplar Row described him as ‘a decent guy’ who wasn’t involved with gangland crime.
The father of five and taxi driver was not known to gardaí as an active criminal, though he had minor crimes against his name.
An armed garda presence was visible on the streets before during and after the funeral. Cars and bags were searched of people in the vicinity and Sean McDermott Street itself was closed.
The garda presence included officers from several armed units and garda patrols could be seen doing laps of the streets throughout the mass.
The garda helicopter also hovered above the area throughout.
Armed gardaí were also on duty near home of Hutch’s sister yesterday, where he was being waked.
There was also a significant media presence outside the church with two banks of photographers across the road from the church. At least one person complained to gardai about people taking photographs and a number were moved on.
As the coffin was leaving the church following the mass, a large van pulled up outside the church obscuring the view of photographers who had to move.
Eddie Hutch is survived by his partner Margaret, his sons Edward, Gavin, Alan and Ross as well brothers and sisters and grandchildren.
After the ceremony his coffin was removed to Glasnevin cemetery for burial.
Read: ‘He was killed because he was a soft target. He is a victim’ – Shock and sadness at murder of Eddie Hutch