No sign of 'The Monk' as key member of armed robbery gang laid to rest
GANGLAND target number one, Gerry 'the Monk' Hutch, was not among mourners when a key member of his armed-robbery gang was laid to rest on Friday.
Geoffrey Ennis (49) from Spencer Street in Dublin's North Strand passed away in Beaumont Hospital on Monday following a short battle with cancer.
Gardai believe that Ennis was a member of the gang who carried out the £2.8m heist at the Brinks depot in Clonshaugh in 1995, which at the time was the biggest ever cash raid in the history of the State.
He was arrested over the haul and quizzed for two days but later released without charge.
More than a thousand mourners packed into North William Street Church in the inner city on Friday to bid farewell to the former gang member, who in the wake of one of Ireland's most spectacular heists, turned his back on crime.
Along with Hutch, Ennis was one of the key targets in the Criminal Asset Bureau's Operation Alpha which targeted the armed-robbery gang.
He was hit with a tax assessment for £300,000 in the late 1990s and eventually settled with CAB.
Hutch and Ennis were also suspected of masterminding a daring robbery from an Allied Irish Bank cash holding centre in Waterford where the gang made off with £2m.
Ennis was also involved in a robbery in 1987 during which one of his associates died following a shootout with a detective.
He was the getaway driver in the attempted robbery at the North Cumberland Street Labour Exchange on September 1, 1987.
Funeral cortege of Geoffrey Ennis
Thomas O'Driscoll (23), another close pal of the Monk (who was not involved in the raid) was armed with a shotgun while a Crumlin-based criminal had a sledgehammer which he used to smash a glass partition in the exchange.
However, the robbery went wrong when the masked raiders were challenged by Detective Garda Dominick Hucthin who was on duty inside the building at the time.
He pulled out his .38 revolver and ordered the men to drop their weapons. O'Driscoll then opened fire on the detective from close range hitting him in the face, abdomen and thigh.
However, the brave officer fired six shots back hitting O'Driscoll five times.
The Crumlin criminal dragged the critically injured O’Driscoll back to the car being driven by Ennis. They pushed him out of the car at a football pitch in Kilbarrack hoping he would receive medical treatment but he died within minutes.
The only man ever convicted over the raid was a pal of Ennis who loaned him the vehicle the gunmen used.
Ennis was also charged over an armed robbery which saw four gunmen hold up a train in Kilkenny back in 1990, where the gunmen made off with £25,000 worth of cigarettes. Gardai later found the cigarettes in Monkstown, Co. Dublin, and chased Ennis who managed to flee from the scene.
He was acquitted after major heroin dealer Thomas 'the Boxer' Mullen gave him a false alibi that he had been in London with him at the time gardai said he was in Monkstown.
At Ennis's funeral mass on Friday, he was remembered for his activities in the past two decades of life including "his dedication to his community, his family and to building up Eastwall Bessborough United FC".
Mourners heard how, at the age of 49 and having battled cancer, "he would be remembered as a person who influenced the lives of so many others through his involvement with the local community and Eastwall Bessborough soccer club.
"That influence he had with so many young people," Fr. Brian Lawless told mourners, "is a credit to him and a consolation to his family.
"He was first and foremost a loving husband to his wife Jackie and a devoted father and friend to his sons Daniel and Jeff.
"He enjoyed his life and was always willing to do a favour for anyone who was in need."
Alan Sherry/Patrick O'Connell