Heavily-armed police manned the inner city streets of Dublin during a major security operation for the funeral of the latest victim in a bloody tit-for-tat gangland feud.
A Garda helicopter flew overhead throughout the service for Eddie Hutch Snr while sniffer dogs carried out a sweep of Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street to check for explosives.
Hundreds turned out on sealed-off streets to pay their final respects to the 59-year-old taxi driver, who was murdered in his home, nearby on Poplar Row, on February 8.
It is believed Mr Hutch, who was not involved in serious crime, was killed as a “soft target” for his family connections, in a reprisal for the shooting of suspected gangland figure David Byrne days earlier.
Byrne’s murder during a packed boxing bout weigh-in at the city’s Regency Hotel was a suspected retaliation for the shooting dead of Mr Hutch’s nephew Gary Hutch in the Costa del Sol last September.
Eddie Snr was also the brother of Gerry Hutch, who carries the nickname The Monk.
His taxi plate was placed on top of his coffin as it was taken from his sister’s family home to the church.
Floral wreaths in the hearse spelt out Taxi, Gentleman, Granddad, Dad and Uncle.
Father Richard Ebejer told the funeral Mass that the bloodletting had spiralled out of control, leaving families grieving in pain and the whole nation in shock.
“Nobody deserves to die in the way that Neddy died,” he said.
At least four masked men were involved in the murder just off North Strand on Dublin’s north side, with the BMW 3 Series used in the killing found abandoned a short distance away near Drumcondra.
Mr Hutch “was basically a good man who would, as a taxi driver, wait on elderly ladies as they did their errands, he would share a good joke and was the life of a party, and he was good company in the pub”, the priest told mourners.
“He did not deserve to die in this manner.”