Dozens of bikers staged a show of force at the funeral of 29-year-old James Whelan (aka Whela), who was shot dead in an alleged gang feud in Finglas, north Dublin.
Bikers did donuts, wheelies and spins before, during and after Mr Whelan’s funeral at River Mount Parish Church in Finglas.
Hundreds of local people lined the road to the church and were often shrouded in smoke from motorbikes. Many bikers wore “RIP Whela” t-shirts.
The funeral mass was punctuated by the sound of motorbikes circling outside the church as a Garda helicopter flew overhead.
Hundreds of residents lined the route of the funeral procession which was led by a videographer filming the funeral live and a saxophone player.
The golden coffin containing Mr Whelan’s remains was carried in a horse-drawn hearse pulled by four horses wearing black feathered plumes.
Three horse-drawn carriages then followed carrying funeral wreaths. As the motorcade approached the church, a man shouted to “kill the bikes” and the hearse silently moved towards the entrance.
The main mourners were Mr Whelan’s partner, Jean, and his son, King Parker The Boss
Mr Whelan was shot dead on Deanstown Avenue just before 4.30am on Sunday April 3. The main suspects in the murder are a local drug gang led by a Finglas man in his twenties who has become a major figure in the gang in recent years. Mr. Whelan’s death is the first murder in an escalating gang feud in the suburbs.
Parish priest Fr Seamus Aherne told the congregation he had been in the Finglas West area for 25 years.
By this time he had seen “too many murders and the very horror of it is horrifying.” Too many people have died from drugs. The people who killed Mr Whelan were ‘sick, sad and stupid’.
There should be zero tolerance for this kind of nastiness “ever”, he added.
He referred to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on the Kinahan cartel by US authorities on Tuesday. Sanctions should also be imposed on anyone who traffics drugs, he added.
A man on horseback rode up and down the street during the funeral. The crowd in the street cheered as the hearse left the church after the funeral. The hearse was preceded by a phalanx of bikers.
Mr Whelan’s last trip to the cemetery was caught on camera by a man filming from the sunroof of an SUV.