FEAR FOR LIFE
Inside Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch’s team of minders hired to protect him against hitman’s bullet at slain brother’s funeral
- n, Crime Editor
- Published: 18:41, 23 Apr 2023
- Updated: 18:49, 23 Apr 2023
A SENIOR garda has told how Gerry Hutch used a team of minders and spotters to protect him against a hitman’s bullet while home for his slain brother’s funeral.
Retired Inspector Tony Gallagher has lifted the lid for the first time on the tensions and chaos in Dublin’s north inner city in the days following the assassination of gangster David Byrne in the Regency Hotel in early February 2016.
The Monk — who was cleared last week of the murder which sparked a flurry of Kinahan Cartel hits on his family and associates — made an unexpected appearance at brother Eddie’s funeral before fleeing Ireland.
Mr Gallagher told the Irish Sun: “The last time I saw Gerry Hutch in public was on the 19th of February 2016, he was leaving Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street after the funeral mass of his brother Eddie Hutch.
“I was on Sean McDermott Street when I saw a man with long hair and wearing a black baseball hat. Although disguised, his dress style was in contrast to the general attire of the attending mourners.
“I did have to do a double take and was unsure of who it was at first, but as he was walking he turned around to a man behind him to greet him, I was then aware of who he was.
READ MORE ON HUTCH
“Eddie Hutch was murdered on the 8th of February, three days after the Regency Hotel gangland attack. The funeral did not take place until the 19th of February. He was released to the family on the 18th of February and then reposed at a house on Portland Row.
“I had put a high-level security plan in place for the wake at the house and the funeral. It was an intensive time of planning and I had received strong intelligence reports that the wake and funeral would be targeted.
“There was credibility to this intelligence as a known assassin had been seen in the vicinity of the funeral home on the morning of the transfer of the remains of Eddie Hutch to the house in Portland Row.”
The Monk was the target, if he showed up for the funeral, and the veteran criminal knew it.
Mr Gallagher added: “Hutch had his own minder and lookouts posted around the area.”
The former officer, who retired last year, was the security event planner for the gangland-related funerals in the Dublin Central area.
Mr Gallagher is one of only three in the force’s history to hold two medals for bravery.
He now works as a risk, security and event manager in the capital.
‘CAREFULLY EVALUATED THE SITUATION’
He said: “Gerry Hutch had no doubt carefully evaluated the situation in Dublin and there were no more public sightings of him.
“The murders of Gareth Hutch and Derek Coakley Hutch followed and there was a feeling that anyone bearing the Hutch name would be assassinated.
“The north inner city became a fortress with special armed units of gardai policing the streets, conducting armed checkpoints and providing an around-the-clock static presence in housing estates where Hutch family members resided. This presence is still in place where Patsy Hutch resides.
“It is presumed by the media, and to a certain extent by the public, that it is [Patsy Hutch] who is receiving Garda protection.
“This is not the case, the Gardai have a presence at these hazard-evaluated locations to protect the community where the likely risk is injury or fatality to the people who have to live there.”
Mr Gallagher has told how the Coakley Hutch funeral in 2018 posed unique problems for gardai, who launched a secretive operation to take his brother Nathan out of jail to pay respects and calm tensions.
He said: “I had to make a significant decision in the security planning for the Derek Coakley Hutch funeral in January 2018.
“He was 27 years old when he was assassinated, he was in repose at the family address in Buckingham Street, and the area had a police cordon due to security and threat to life concerns.
TIGHT SECURITY PLAN
“I was advised by the family that there would be no funeral unless his brother Nathan was allowed out of prison to see him.
“In this situation you evaluate the risk and the continued risk of a lengthy repose at the house, there is also the humanitarian consideration.
“Nathan Coakley Hutch was serving a prison sentence at Wheatfield Prison, so I arranged a tight security plan to have him brought from the prison to the funeral home in the early hours of the morning to spend time with his deceased brother. The funeral plan then proceeded.”
But despite the enormous garda presence in the area, cartel gunmen still found a way to take down another target.
‘AUDACIOUS GANGLAND HIT’
Gallagher explained: “On the eve of the funeral, Jason ‘Buda’ Molyneaux, believed to be a chief suspect himself in gangland murders, paid his respects at the house in Buckingham Street.
“I was on the street at the time, he left after a brief time. There had been hundreds of people calling to the house throughout the two days and there were overt and covert armed patrols in place.
“Despite these patrols an audacious gangland hit took place at North Strand and Molyneaux was shot several times, dying instantly. It was gangland activity at its peak.”
Seven years on, the Monk is a free man and preparing his next move away from Ireland.
Gallagher said: “Gerry Hutch will assess the current situation himself. He will gain a strength and a confidence from his acquittal and his peers will take notice.
“It could be argued that the Kinahan group are far less confident and their movements are certainly restricted following the US Department of State announcing rewards up to $5 million for information leading to their arrests.
“My view is (Hutch) will remain in Dublin for a while after a seven-year absence. He will choose the time (to leave).”