Garda ring of steel at funeral of Dublin weigh-in murder victim

Motorcyclists lead the cortege for the funeral of David Byrne in Dublin
Motorcyclists lead the cortege for the funeral of David Byrne in Dublin

There was a heavily-armed security presence at a church where a Dublin gangland murder victim was being mourned on Monday.

David Byrne, 34, was shot dead during a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in the north of the city on February 5 by a six-strong gang, some armed with assault rifles.

Murder squad detectives believe his murder was retaliation for the shooting dead of Gary Hutch on the Costa del Sol last September.

On Sunday, the Irish edition of the Sunday Times reported the Gardai believe one of the gunmen involved in the Byrne killing to be a CIRA figure from Co Tyrone.

Byrne’s killing was followed three days later with the murder in his Dublin home of Eddie Hutch, 55, brother of suspected armed robber Gerry Hutch, known as the Monk.

Hundreds of mourners attended the service at St Nicholas of Myra Church on Francis St in central Dublin.

Scores of people lined the narrow grounds and the street outside as the American-style casket holding Byrne’s body was shouldered past the crowd.

A lone piper played a lament while a large floral tribute with a picture of Byrne at its centre was also carried in.

Byrne, a father-of-two, lived in Crumlin and was said to have been associated with an international drugs gang operating out of the south of Spain.

Some of his relatives are from the Liberties around the Francis Street parish.

Uniformed gardai were on duty on streets in the area from early morning following Sunday’s security sweeps in the church and along the route of the cortege.

The bomb squad was called in to carry out some of the checks.

Several units of armed detectives were on foot on the narrow streets around the church.

Additional heavily armed teams from the Emergency Response Unit circled the area in cars and 4x4s before and during the mass. The Garda helicopter was deployed overhead.

Among the mourners it is believed were Daniel Kinahan and his brother Christy Jnr – who flew into Dublin Airport on Sunday night.

Their father is Christy Kinahan Snr, 58 and originally from Dublin’s south inner city – who was arrested in a mansion in Spain in 2010 as part of an investigation into an international drugs and money laundering racket. Kinahan Snr has not been charged.

Son Daniel, who manages boxers out of the MGM Marbella gym, had been in the Regency for the weigh-in when the hit squad struck in front of hundreds of people.

Gardai have said they are keeping an open mind over suspected dissident republican involvement in the hotel killing.

The Kinahans are understood to be embroiled in a bitter feud with the Hutch family which turned bloody last September when Gary Hutch was shot dead in Spain.

He was a nephew of the latest gangland victim Eddie Hutch and also Gerry Hutch.