| 9.6°C Dublin

Dead wrong Priest abandons funeral of Dublin criminal Philip Griffiths after dozens turn up at church

Angry mourners said their own prayers and gave a eulogy before removing the coffin from St Agnes Church and taking it away for burial.


Philip Griffiths

Philip Griffiths

Philip Griffiths

The funeral of convicted criminal Philip Griffiths turned into a ‘frightening’ spectacle and had to be abandoned by the priest on Saturday after dozens of mourners turned up at the Crumlin church, in breach of Covid regulations.

The priest refused to begin the mass because of the numbers who had gathered, and angry mourners said their own prayers and gave a eulogy before removing the coffin from St Agnes Church and taking it away for burial.

A church source said the burial took place without a priest.

Speaking about the stand-off in the church, the source said the gardaí handled it very well and professionally.

“It was over as quick as it started, but it was quite frightening. The gardaí did a very good job under difficult circumstances,” they explained.

Gardaí later called to a house in nearby Sundrive Park where a large number of people had gathered to mark the death of father-of-three Griffiths (40).

Under Level 5 Covid restrictions, only 10 mourners are allowed to attend a funeral and house parties are banned.

Griffiths was found dead in an apartment in the Orwell Road area of Rathgar in south Dublin on February 8. His death was being treated as a personal tragedy and there was no foul play involved.

Two years ago he was named in High Court papers as a member of the drugs and crime gang led by Liam Byrne – the man now regarded as the right-hand man of Daniel Kinahan.

The Criminal Assets Bureau told the High Court that Griffiths was part of the Byrne gang.

He was previously jailed in 2001 for seven years, after he was caught with €1.5m of ecstasy and cocaine in a Dublin hotel in March 2000.

That seizure, in a hotel room on Pearse Street, Dublin, was the catalyst that led to the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud after internal gang allegations of an informant within the camp.

Gang member Declan Gavin (21) was in a different room when gardaí raided the hotel, and as a result he was not prosecuted, which led to accusations of him being a ‘rat’.

Gavin was later stabbed to death in Crumlin and the feud spiralled out of control, leaving 15 men dead over the following years.

Gardaí believe that Griffiths became active with the Byrne gang following his release from jail in 2005.

In a statement, gardaí confirmed it was aware of the funeral that took place in Crumlin on Saturday.

“Gardaí attended the scene and engaged with those present. Gardaí also attended a property in Sundrive Park on the night of February 13, following reports of a party in the property. Gardaí discovered a number of people present in breach of current Covid-19 regulations, engaged with those present, and they eventually dispersed,” the statement said.

It added that the Health Act provides certain restrictions on funerals but they are not penal regulations, meaning there would be no penalty for the breach.

“Where Gardaí identify potential breaches of the public health regulations, a file is prepared for the DPP in each case or a Fixed Payment Notice is issued where appropriate,” the garda statement said.

“The Covid-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to demonstrate personal and social responsibility to comply with public health guidelines and regulations, in particular essential journeys, in order to continue to save lives,” it added.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors

Top Videos