Belfast Telegraph

Family of Barney McGinley say sentences are an 'insult'

By Brett Campbell

Relatives of Barney McGinley reacted angrily as his killer was jailed yesterday.

His widow clenched her fists and banged the glass windows of the public gallery as his nephew Patrick McGinley (49), from Ardlougher Road, Irvinestown, was told he would serve four years in prison for manslaughter.

As he was led away from the dock in handcuffs, and as tears rolled down her cheeks, Brigid McGinley shouted while other relatives expressed their outrage.

Patrick McGinley's son William (29) was jailed for three-and-a-half years - he pleaded guilty to wounding Barney McGinley's son, Bernard Oliver.

He will serve a further three years and nine months on supervised licence upon his release.

Patrick McGinley jnr (24), from Lisfarrell in Edgesworthtown, Co Longford, was ordered to carry out 150 hours community service and Bernard Patrick McGinley (18), from Ardlougher Road, Irvinestown, was given a 12 month probation order after they both pleaded guilty to affray over the same incident.

Some relatives stood up and pointed at the four men who sat side-by-side in the dock and shouted "you have to come out" after the two avoided prison.

Outraged family members confronted the dozen armed police officers outside the fourth floor courtroom to express their disappointment in the PSNI and judicial system which they said had let them down terribly.

Police officers and a family liaison officer tried to calm them down as they were ushered away from the courtroom.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph outside the court, Noel McGinley, brother of the deceased, described the sentences as a hurtful insult to the entire family who have "suffered enough". He said: "Four years is a joke, it's an absolute disgrace.

"Not a lot of criminals get treated like he [Patrick] is being treated."

Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors, such as intent and excessive violence.

Noel said his brother's widow Brigid has been left devastated by the horror which unfolded before her eyes outside the Catholic church that day in 2015.

"She is on the verge of a breakdown - that woman was standing there when it happened and she is almost suicidal," he continued.

"It would have been better for all of us if they had thrown the case out and given him nothing - they might as well have given him a pat on the back."

The deceased's brother-in-law, Johnny Mack, was among the many relatives who had travelled from Co Longford to be present for the sentencing.

He described the sentences as a "huge disappointment".

"They might as well have dismissed the case," Mr Mack commented.

A nephew of the deceased branded the sentence as "pathetic" and "ridiculous".

"We were promised they would get anything from 20 years to life because this was a clear-cut murder case, then the charges were dropped and deals were done," he said.

"No one ever asked the family how they felt about the charges being changed."

Belfast Telegraph

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