A man in his 50s has been shot dead in Dublin's northside in what Gardai believe was a reprisal for the deadly shooting at the Regency Hotel last Friday (5 February) in which David Byrne was killed. Byrne's shooting was claimed by Republican terror group the Continuity IRA as part of what it said was a crackdown on drug dealing in the city.
The man, named as Eddie Hutch senior, was killed outside a block of flats in Poplar Row. Four men are thought to have been involved in the murder, carrying out the hit before escaping in a Volkswagen Golf. Hutch is the brother of known Republican Gary Hutch, known as "The Monk."
Byrne was shot dead when a boxing match weigh-in was infiltrated by six people dressed as police and in drag in an incident captured on video. Byrne, described as a known criminal, was targeted by the Continuity IRA because they alleged he was involved in the murder of another top Republican, 32-year-old Alan Ryan, four years ago.
In a statement the Continuity IRA said: "Although not a member of our organisation, we are not going to stand back and allow drug dealers and criminals to target republicans. This will not be an isolated incident. Continuity IRA units have been authorised to carry out further operations. More drug dealers and criminals will be targeted. The Continuity IRA will carry out further military operations."
However tonight's hit suggests the dispute between rivals is spinning out of control - just as Sinn Fein launches its election manifesto in the run-up to the general elections. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams responded angrily to suggestions that those involved in the Regency Hotel killing used guns from a Provisional IRA batch smuggled in some years ago.
" I understand a group calling itself the Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for the attack at the Regency Hotel," said Adams. "They are not the IRA. The IRA are gone and their weapons are gone. Incidentally, the same group has me and other Sinn Fein reps under active death threat. This was confirmed to me by the PSNI [Police Service of Northern ireland] in recent months."
However, the Gardai, the Irish police force, have dismissed as 'opportunistic nonsense' claims by the Continuity IRA that they were behind Friday afternoon's shooting spree at the Regency Hotel in Drumcondra.