Heavily armed gardaí to patrol Eddie Hutch funeral
Major Garda presence on Portland Row as murdered man is waked at sister’s house
Sympathisers on Portland Row, outside the home of Eddie Hutch’s sister this afternoon prior to his funeral, which takes place on Friday. Photograph: Collins
Heavily armed gardaí will patrol the funeral of murdered father-of-five Eddie Hutch on Friday as part of a major security operation that has been in place for several days.
Mr Hutch was shot dead at his home on Poplar Row, Dublin 1, last Monday week. Detectives believe he was murdered in revenge for the killing of David Byrne, who they regarded as a significant gangland figure.
Unlike Byrne, Mr Hutch was not involved in serious crime and gardaí believe he was singled out because he was a member of the Hutch family.
Mr Hutch was waked at his sister’s home on Portland Row in the inner city on Thursday night. His body will this morning be taken from there to Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Seán McDermott Street for his funeral before burial at Glasnevin Cemetery.
There was a heavy Garda presence on Portland Row as people came in their droves to pay their respects to the Hutch family. A short distance either side of the terraced house, two groups of uniformed gardaí watched on.
For a time, a group of about a dozen people stood outside the house waiting to gain access. Many arrived carrying flowers. Some time later a van arrived and two men unloaded more flowers and wreaths. One of the wreaths read “grandad”.
As residents on the busy street looked out from their homes, armed gardaí from the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) could be seen patrolling the street with holstered pistols and assault rifles in hand.
Undercover detectives maintained a discreet surveillance of proceedings.
There were also several Garda vans on the street and motorists were stopped and spoken to at each junction leading on to the street.
A spokesman for the Garda on Thursday night said there was a policing plan in place for Mr Hutch’s funeral but that details would not be released for operational reasons.
However, it is understood the operation will be similar in scale to that which was implemented during David Byrne’s funeral on Monday, but that additional gardaí may be deployed due to the demographics of the area and the width of the streets.
The Garda Dog Unit will carry out sweeps for explosives at Our Lady of Lourdes Church and Glasnevin Cemetery.
There will be a visible Garda presence made up of uniformed unarmed gardaí backed by armed detectives and members of the ERU as the hearse carries the coffin from the house to the church.
The policing operation around the Byrne and Hutch funerals represents the first time in the history of gang feuding in the Republic that funerals have been treated by gardaí as a potential target for attack, although detectives are hopeful Friday’s proceedings will pass without incident.
There will be armed checkpoints and armed patrols outside the funeral Mass, around the burial and on the streets close to any social gathering the Hutch family hosts after the dead man’s burial.
Gardaí have not released the details of any road closures, but traffic is expected to be disrupted for a time. Aerial support and surveillance will be provided by the Garda Air Support Unit.
Detectives investigating the death of Mr Hutch are liaising with police in Spain. Byrne was part of the drugs gang whose leadership, including convicted drug dealer Christy Kinahan, is based on the Costa del Sol.
Last September when Eddie Hutch’s nephew Gary (34) was shot dead in Spain, the Kinahan gang emerged as the only suspects.
Associates of Gary Hutch are believed to have been behind the attack by a group of armed men on a boxing weigh-in at which Byrne was shot dead and two other men were wounded at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra.