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Violence not the answer, priest tells funeral of Traveller wedding shooting victim Barney McGinley

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The remains of Barney McGinley are brought to Coosan cemetery in Athlone yesterday

The remains of Barney McGinley are brought to Coosan cemetery in Athlone yesterday

The remains of Barney McGinley are brought to Coosan cemetery in Athlone yesterday

A priest at the funeral of a man murdered in a shooting rampage at a Traveller wedding has said violence can never be the answer.

Mourners gathered to pay their final respects to Barney McGinley yesterday amid tight security.

The 63-year-old was gunned down outside a church in Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh - moments before a teenage couple were about to marry.

The shooting is believed to have been the culmination of a bitter family feud. Yesterday hundreds of mourners gathered in Mr McGinley's native Athlone for his funeral Mass.

Fears over further trouble led to a heavy Garda presence in the town.

Mr McGinley's widow Bridget was comforted by her children and 49 grandchildren at St Mary's Church. Male relatives and friends wearing white shirts and black trousers walked to the service in unison.

They later formed a guard of honour as Mr McGinley's remains were brought from the church.

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Fr Turlough Baxter told mourners how friends recalled the deceased as a gentleman, a patient father and a good friend.

He said Mrs McGinley had described her husband of 41 years as the love of her life.

Fr Baxter added: "You made a home together and with him travelled to various places and set up many homes, but it was in the end Athlone where you were most at home.

"Indeed, home means so much to us. The home that Bridget and Barney made was a special place for each of their nine children."

Fr Baxter also hit out at the violence which saw what should have been a day of celebration turn to terror.

"On a day that was to be a joyful family occasion, others chose to end the goodness of Barney's life and leave a family in such grief and loss," he added.

"It takes such a short time to open wounds in others that can take a lifetime to heal.

"Violence can never be the answer, because all that it does is foster more hurt and violence and delays the day of justice."

Mr McGinley was shot last Wednesday, just before the wedding of Matilda McGinley (17) and Jimmy Connors (16).


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