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.”
Through the priest, the Hutch family again appealed for no retaliation for the murder, as they had done after the killing of Gary Hutch in Spain.
“It was a request that unfortunately has not been respected; with the result that now more families are in bereavement,” said Fr Ebejer.
“They now call on everybody for this cycle of violence to stop, and to stop now.”
Well-known figure Gerry “The Monk” Hutch was photographed among the mourners, despite reports he had left the country during the week after being advised his life was under threat.
Earlier this week, a huge police presence guarded a section of the south inner city for the funeral of David Byrne, gunned down on February 5 by a six-strong gang, some armed with assault rifles.
Among the mourners on Monday was believed to be Daniel Kinahan and his brother Christy Junior, sons of Christy Kinahan senior, 58, who was arrested in a mansion in Spain in 2010 as part of an investigation into an international drugs and money laundering racket. Kinahan senior has not been charged.
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.
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.