'Nobody deserves to die in this manner' - Eddie Hutch funeral priest
The priest presiding over the funeral of gunned-down Eddie Hutch has pleaded for peace, stating that the taxi driver "did not deserve to die in this manner", while Mr Hutch's family have stated they want no retaliation for the murder to take place.
Hundreds gathered in Dublin's north inner city for to pay their final respects to the gangland victim who was shot dead in his home in Poplar Row, Ballybough almost two weeks ago.
The father-of-five, who was described as a 'soft target', was attacked just three days after Crumlin native David Byrne (34) was killed in the Regency Hotel shooting.
He is the second victim of gangland violence in the family in less than a year. His nephew Gary Hutch was killed in a shooting in the Costa del Sol, Spain last September. The 34-year-old was gunned down beside a swimming pool in an apartment complex.
Fr Richard Ebejer addressed the congregation at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes on Sean McDermott Street this morning and said the Hutch family have asked that there be no retaliation for the murder.
The family made the same plea following the murder of Gary Hutch, the killing which is believed to have marked the beginning of the latest outbreak of gangland violence.
"...one does not want to seek revenge or to have retaliation," the funeral of Eddie Hutch Snr heard this morning.
"This is what the family had asked for, right from the very beginning, that there will be no retaliation.
"This is indeed ‘goodness’ in the face of evil.
"They now call on everybody for this cycle of violence to stop, and to stop now."
His funeral cortege left his sister's family home on Portland Row shortly before 10.30am this morning.
Several floral displays paid tribute to the gangland victim.
Flowers spelling out the words 'Dad' and 'Uncle' were laid alongside the coffin in the hearse, while displays reading 'Grandad' were placed on top of the vehicle before it left Portland Row for the church on Sean Mac Dermott Street.
And in a moving tribute to the taxi driver, Eddie Hutch's taxi sign was placed on top of the coffin before it was carried into the church.
Fr Ebejer described the 59-year-old taxi driver as a 'good man' who loved a 'good joke'.
"The Goodness of the inner city is nourished by faith," he said.
"We see it in Neddy, who 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.
"He did not deserve to die in this manner."
Fr Ebejer read a gospel that he said "was not chosen in particular for this sad occasion, but it does speak to the reality we are facing."
The priest alluded to the recent increase in gangland violence in the capital, a situation he said that has 'shocked the whole nation'.
He said: "We are all aware of the circumstances of Neddy’s death, circumstances that have spiralled out of control, circumstances that have left families grieving in shock and pain, circumstances that have shocked the whole nation.
"All vengeful violence is to be condemned in the strongest terms possible, wherever it comes from. It only degrades the humanity of those who carry it out.
"Nobody deserves to die in the way that Neddy died," he repeated.
Speaking about the area in which the Hutch family lived, he said inner city Dublin has a 'great history' of people looking out for one another when times get hard.
"It would be a tragedy if we were to lose that sense of good Dublin values," he added.
He concluded his sermon by saying: "May Neddy Hutch rest in Peace; may God have mercy on his soul, and reward him for his goodness, real Dublin goodness!"