Major security planned for funeral of man shot at Fermanagh wedding

Barney McGinley (63) to be laid to rest as tensions remain high over murder

Members of the McGinley-Connors wedding party leave the church in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, after the shooting on Wednesday. Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker

Members of the McGinley-Connors wedding party leave the church in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, after the shooting on Wednesday. Photograph: Ronan McGrade/Pacemaker

 

Gardaí are planning a major security operation at the funeral of Barney McGinley who was shot dead at a family wedding.

The removal mass of the 63-year-old is due to take place in Athlone, Co Westmeath Sunday, with the burial on Monday. Gardaí say that because the murder suspect and his accomplices are still on the run, a security operation will be put in place.

Gardaí believe the man who fired the shots that killed Mr McGinley is also a member of the Traveller community who was at one time close to the McGinley family.

The suspect, who is based in Co Longford, became involved in a feud some time ago. When he sought assistance from people known to him, his request was not met to his satisfaction. Gardaí believe the bad feeling that stemmed from that was the motive for Wednesday’s shooting in Co Fermanagh.

Because the suspect and his family were previously close to Mr McGinley and his extended family, the attack has divided a large family-based social circle.

Garda sources said a large team of uniformed gardaí will be present at the funeral and will also remain vigilant in the hours after it around the town and across the Midlands.

“A man has been killed and there is a division in a large group,” said one Garda source. “You may have people who would be regarded as being close to either side turning up and that has the potential to cause problems.”

The uniformed gardaí will be backed by armed colleagues, who will take a low key approach. Members of the Public Order Unit will also be available as will the Garda helicopter and Garda Dog Unit. However, senior officers stressed those resources would only be deployed if required.

Fatal shooting

Mr McGinley died after he was shot on Wednesday afternoon outside the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh.

He was one of the guests at the wedding of two young people from the Traveller community aged 16 and 17 years old.

The couple are from Dublin but travelled to the North to get married because those under 18 years are prohibited from marrying in the Republic.

Mr McGinley was shot in the chest in front of his wife Brigid and some of their grandchildren as he was about to walk down the aisle.

Another man was wounded in the leg and a third was wounded with what gardaí believe was a slash hook or scythe.

Those involved drove into the Republic while Mr McGinley later died at South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen as the wedding went ahead as planned.

Shortly before the shooting, local parish priest Fr Michael King intervened to try to stop a serious altercation between a group of men, including Mr McGinley, during which there was some “kicking and thumping”.

Fr King said the fighting stopped and then restarted before the shots were fired. The Garda and the PSNI are cooperating closely on the case. The PSNI says it knows the identity of the killer and those who aided him and has called on the men to give themselves up.