Gardaí await gang funerals as reporters receive threats

Gardaí are monitoring an estimated 80 members of rival feuding gangs as they brace themselves for two funerals next week.

Gardaí await gang funerals as reporters receive threats

It has also emerged two crime reporters have been notified by gardaí of a threat to their safety from organised criminals.

The threat to journalists attached to Independent News and Media (INM) comes on the 20th anniversary this June of the murder of Sunday Independent journalist Veronica Guerin.

A Garda spokesman said they took “all threats against citizens very seriously” and that there was a process in place to mitigate the threats, including risk assessments.

Intelligence documents estimate the two feuding gangs — the Kinahans and the Hutches — each have 40 members and associates.

Gardaí in two districts on Dublin’s southside last night began a major five-day policing plan for Monday’s funeral of David Byrne.

Byrne, 33, from Crumlin, south Dublin, a senior member of the Kinahan crime syndicate, was shot dead at the Regency Hotel in north Dublin last Friday.

The murder was in suspected retaliation for the killing of Gary Hutch in Spain last September. In revenge for Byrne’s murder, Eddie Hutch Sr, 58 — the brother of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch — was shot dead at his home in the north inner city last Monday.

His funeral is not expected to take place until the middle or end of next week. Byrne’s remains were due to be brought to the family home at Raleigh Square last night or this morning, where he will be waked over the weekend before being buried at 12.30pm on Monday at St Nicholas of Myra Church on Francis St.

INM editor-in-chief Stephen Rea condemned the threat on a number of their reporters: “This is an outrageous threat to the freedom of the press in Ireland and we are taking the threats with utmost seriousness.

“It is disturbing that threats of this nature have emerged as we approach the 20th anniversary of the death of our colleague Veronica Guerin, who was murdered by criminals for exposing their activities.”

The Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, Seamus Dooley, said the union was “gravely concerned”. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a pillar of a functioning democracy is freedom of speech.

“Journalists must be afforded the freedom to go about their jobs without fear of reprisal,” he said.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said any threat to the freedom of the press was a threat to the State itself.

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