NewsCrime Desk

VIDEO: Gangland figures among the mourners at David Byrne's funeral

VIDEO: Gangland figures among the mourners at David Byrne's funeral

Hundreds of people turned out for the funeral Mass of slain gangster David Byrne (34) this afternoon, where mourners heard that a film of his life would show him as a loving father and partner.

In the region of 500 mourners attended the funeral at the church of St Nicolas of Myra on Francis Street in Dublin 8, which began at 12.30pm.

'Fat' Freddie Thompson

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.

Byrne's killing was avenged 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.

This afternoon 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 this afternoon.

Inside, Fr Niall Coghlan spoke about Mr Byrne's brutal death, saying for a person to carry out such an act in cold blood they would have to be dehumanised.

He also questioned whether the killers would have shot Mr Byrne if they saw a film of his life - which would have portrayed him as both a loving partner and father.

The funeral Mass ended shortly after 2pm, and the funeral cortege then started to make its way to Mount Jerome Cemetary.

Eight young men in dark blue suits, blue shirts and dark blue ties had earlier carried the coffin into the church. It is understood that the predominant blue colouring was a reference to a sporting team supported by Mr Byrne.

Liam Roe

A lone piper played a lament while a large floral tribute with a picture of Mr 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.

There was a significant garda presence at the funeral, with officers keeping press photographers and videographers about 150 metres from the church gates which are locked.

Signs on the gates of the church said no photography or audio or video recordings would be permitted within the church grounds.

Francis Street itself was closed to traffic while the funeral was underway, while a number of business premises on the street remained closed.

At around 12.20pm approximately one dozen limousines had left Mr Byrne's home at Raleigh Square, Crumlin and made their way slowly to the church.

The route for the funeral cortege had been agreed in advance with gardai lining up along the road from Crumlin to Francis Street.

Another group of young men, also attired in blue, had headed the cortege along St Francis Street behind the lone piper.

There were three horse drawn carriages, carrying floral tributes, one of which was designed in the shape of a boxing ring. 

Some of Mr Byrne's 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 the cortege was to take.

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.

It is believed Daniel Kinahan and his brother Christy Junior were among the mourners after flying into Dublin Airport last night.

Their father is Christy Kinahan senior, 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 senior has not been charged.

Byrne's funeral cortege

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.