Gardaí on alert at funeral of wedding gun victim
EXTRA gardaí will be drafted into Athlone today for the funeral of Barney McGinley, who was shot dead at a Traveller wedding in Co Fermanagh last week.
Mr McGinley (63) was gunned down in cold blood in Newtownbutler and another man was injured, as Matilda McGinley (17) married Jimmy O'Connor (16), from Saggart in Co Dublin, at the ceremony last Wednesday. Another man was stabbed with a machete during the brutal attack in the border village.
'Small' Barney McGinley was originally from Athlone but lived in Longford.
Just before Matilda walked up the aisle, a gunman using a crude home-made weapon shot Mr McGinley as he stood in the grounds outside.
Mr McGinley died from his injuries in Enniskillen Hospital after being flown there in a PSNI helicopter.
The gunman has been on the run since, sparking fears of an all-out feud in the Travelling community.
A heavy garda presence could be seen in Athlone yesterday as family and friends from all over the country and abroad gathered at the funeral home on the banks of the Shannon river to pay their respects.
People driving into the town were met with squad cars stopping traffic and monitoring who was in cars and vans. Members of the Garda Regional Response Unit and the Armed Response Unit also patrolled the town.
On the river itself members of the Garda Water Unit patrolled the Shannon in a boat, crossing to both sides of the river.
From 4pm, a growing crowd started to gather, making their way quietly to pay their respects.
At 7pm, Mr McGinley's coffin was placed in a hearse and driven slowly towards St Mary's church in the town, followed slowly by mourners walking behind.