It looks like Ireland, may have a full-scale gang war on its hands today, after gunmen shot and killed the brother of an infamous crime boss last night—retaliation, apparently, for the brutal killing of a gang enforcer at a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel last Friday.
Last night at about 8 local time, Eddie Hutch Sr., a small-time criminal and brother of crime boss Gerry "The Monk" Hutch, was getting ready to leave his home on Poplar Row in North Dublin when four men in masks broke into his house and shot him nine times in his front hallway. Currently authorities are going on the theory that the hit was the work of the Kinahan Mob, a powerful Irish drug gang that has its headquarters in Spain: revenge for the murder on Friday at the Regency Hotel of David Byrne, a Kinahan Mob enforcer. Byrne was attending the weigh-ins for the Clash of the Clans boxing match scheduled to take place the following night (and co-promoted by Macklin's Gym Mirabella, a Costa del Sol-based boxing gym "adopted" by the Kinahan Mob) when six men in balaclavas stormed the Regency ballroom and opened fire with AK47s. Many of those familiar with Dublin's criminal underworld assumed at the time that the killing of Byrne was retaliation by Gerry Hutch for the September murder of Hutch's nephew, and career criminal, Gary by Kinahan Mob hitmen.
Mob leader Christy Kinahan, known as "The Irish Godfather" and "Dapper Dan," is rumored to have put a $50,000-euro bounty on the head of any member of the Hutch family following the Regency incident. Eddie Hutch, whose involvement in crime has been minimal, was considered by police to be a "soft target" and "easy to get at" for Kinahan hitmen. "They wanted a Hutch scalp and any Hutch would do," sources told The Daily Mail. "The Monk or the victim's son, Eddie Hutch Jnr, would have been much harder to get as they have heightened security around them. But Eddie Snr wouldn't have been as concerned for his safety, because he essentially was not involved in this feud and was not involved in criminality."
Initially muddying police theories about the Regency attacks, however, was the announcement made yesterday by the Continuity IRA, a splinter faction of the nationalist Irish Republican Army, claiming responsibility for the killing of Byrne, retaliation of their own for the 2012 murder of a Real IRA member by drug gangs. "Although not a member of our organisation, we are not going to stand back and allow drug dealers and criminals to target republicans," a Continuity IRA spokesman said in a statement sent to the BBC yesterday.
But last night, right about the time Eddie Hutch was being shot down in his own foyer, the dissident republican group issued a statement to the Irish Daily Mirror denying any involvement in the Regency Hotel hit.
"The Continuity IRA wish to make it clear that we did not have any involvement in Friday's shooting at the Regency Hotel," the statement said. ""We have absolutely no involvement in criminal feuds. We see the false claim that the CIRA were involved in this act as another attempt to tarnish the name of the organisation."
If this second CIRA claim proves true it will confirm early skepticism among Dublin law enforcement authorities that the nationalist group had anything to do with Friday's murder and that the shootout was anything more than an act of payback by one criminal crew against another. Today, authorities say an elite unit of Irish police officers armed with high-powered weapons has been set up permanently in Dublin to deal with what they call this "unprecedented" escalation in gang violence.
No word as yet whether the Clash of the Clans boxing event, which was set to feature a title bout between Portuguese lightweight Antonio Joao Bento and Dublin native Jamie Kavanagh (son of a former enforcer in the Kinahan Mob, now murdered), will be rescheduled. No doubt Gerry Hutch's own adopted boxing club, Corinthians, will be holding off on any future events as well.