Premier Enda Kenny has claimed he cannot stop a murderous feud on the streets of Dublin as the latest victim was gunned down close to the capital’s main thoroughfare.
Gareth Hutch, who was in his 30s and the father of a young son, was shot dead in broad daylight on Tuesday morning in the Avondale House complex in Cumberland Street North, a few hundred yards from bustling O’Connell Street.
A nephew of Gerry “The Monk” Hutch, he is believed to be the seventh victim of a bloody dispute between the Kinahan and Hutch families that has spiralled out of control.
Mr Hutch was killed as he was preparing to appeal to Dublin City Council housing officers to move him from the flats because he was in fear for his life and looked after his son four days a week.
He was also concerned that the flat he was living in was an easy target as a balcony could be accessed from the ground and he claimed CCTV did not cover that part of the complex.
The latest murder on the Irish capital’s streets has sparked calls for a state crackdown on underworld gangsters similar to that launched when journalist Veronica Guerin was shot dead in 1996.
But Mr Kenny, under opposition pressure to ramp up the response to the bloodshed, said he was assured that gardai had all the resources they needed.
“This is a dispute between two families,” he said. “It is a vicious, murderous dispute and I don’t think that I can stop that.”
He later clarified he was talking about “myself as a citizen” and vowed the government would not lie down under the threat.
Mr Kenny also said in the Dail that a second man, also a member of the Hutch family, was shot in the incident and received non-fatal injuries but Garda sources say they have no information about anyone else being shot.
Micheal Martin, leader of Fianna Fail, said the situation is “out of control” and the north inner city is “under siege”.
Nial Ring, a local councillor, said Mr Hutch had been to his office on Monday to ask for help.
“He was up in my office just yesterday,” he said. “I did out a letter for him. He was to go to the corporation (Dublin City Council) this morning looking for a transfer because his life was in danger.
“I’m shocked. He was literally with me yesterday.”
Mr Hutch was charged in relation to a cash-in-transit robbery in Lucan in 2009 but disappeared before the trial and was later extradited from the Ntherlands.
It is understood he was in a car in the courtyard of Avondale House at about 10am on Tuesday when he was shot a number of times.
He was rushed to the Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The Hutch family and their associates have been repeatedly targeted by underworld rivals since the audacious AK47 gun attack on a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in north Dublin in February.
David Byrne, from the Crumlin area of Dublin and an associate of the Kinahan family, was killed in that incident.
His murder was said to have been in retaliation for the fatal shooting of Gary Hutch in September last year on the Costa del Sol after he fell foul of the Kinahan outfit and their operations in Spain.
Six of the seven men shot dead so far in the gangland fall-out were murdered over the past four months.
One of the victims was innocent father-of-three Martin O’Rourke, who was killed in crossfire outside Noctor’s bar on Sheriff Street in Dublin when a gunman on a bike tried to murder another associate of the Hutch family.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald rejected suggestions that Garda operations had been scaled back in the midst of the gangland killings.
“These ruthless gangs intent on violence and revenge have no place in any community in this country and they will not be tolerated,” she said.
“We are confronting this and will see those involved brought to justice.”