Funeral of ‘innocent man’ who was latest gangland victim

Noel Kirwan (62) ‘had a great way with young people’, says Maureen O’Sullivan

The funeral of Noel Kirwan arrives at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, on Sean McDermott Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The funeral of Noel Kirwan arrives at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, on Sean McDermott Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The funeral has taken place in Dublin of Noel Kirwan, “an innocent man”, those who came to say goodbye to him were told, but the latest victim nonetheless of the so-called Kinahan-Hutch gangland feud.

Approximately 400 people were in Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean Macdermott Street to hear Fr Hugh O’Donnell describe Mr Kirwan as “an innocent man gunned down in his prime”.

Mr Kirwan (62) was murdered on December 22nd, shot dead in the driveway of his partner’s home in Clondalkin. Originally from Railway Street in the north-east inner city, he was friendly with members of the Hutch family.

As young man, he had been involved in republican extremism but was not involved in gangland activities. Rather, he was known in his community and was remembered at his funereal as a community activist who tried to help others.

It is believed by gardaí, and by members of his own family, that his attendance at one of the recent Hutch family funerals drew his attention to the Kinahan gang which seems intent on erasing anyone close to the head of the Hutch gang, Gerry Hutch, not to mention Hutch himself.

There was a heavy Garda presence, including members of the Armed Support Unit, around the church for the funeral. A large cross section of the community in the Sean MacDermott St area attended, as did members of Mr Kirwan’s family and at least two local politicians, Maureen O’Sullivan TD and Cllr Christy Burke.

Ms O’Sullivan came to know Mr Kirwan in the 1970s when he worked with young people in the north-east inner city,arranging breaks for them in Co Cavan. “He had a great way with young people,” she said.

A family member, Bernice, appealed to the media not to sentationalise what had happened and not to blacken Mr Kirwan’s name with phrases such as “he was known to the gardaí”. He was, she said, guilty of nothing.

Music at the funeral included He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Mr Kirwan’s coffin was taken from the church, folr cremation at Glasnevin Cemetery, to the strains of Bette Midler’s The Rose.