Tributes paid to grandfather slain at family wedding
THE children of a man shot dead at a family wedding paid a touching tribute to their father at his funeral Mass where the congregation was told violence is never the answer.
The five sons and four daughters of Barney McGinley penned a letter to their father thanking him for all he had done for them throughout their lives.
"For all the times you were by our side, supporting us, celebrating our success, for teaching us by your example, by your hard work.
"We wonder if we ever thanked you enough for the sacrifices you made to let us have the very best.
"If we have forgotten to show our gratitude for all the things you did we are thanking you now and we're hoping you knew all along how much you meant to us," it read.
Mourners who gathered at the funeral of the murdered grandfather were told violence is never the answer.
Fr Turlough Baxter spoke as a strong garda presence kept watch outside.
He said Mr McGinley's tragic death would forever form part of the life of his grieving family.
"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.
"It takes such a short time to open wounds in others that can take a life time 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," he added.
Hundreds of mourners who gathered in Athlone were told that Mr McGinley would live on in the good things he had done - because goodness is always stronger than the evil others may do.
The packed congregation listened as Mr McGinley was remembered as a man of strong principles who was proud of his culture and his religion.
He was described as a man who had come from simple beginnings but worked hard all his life to provide for his wife and family.
"Barney was always proud of how he would dress and how he would be turned out. The best of what he could get, is what he would want to have, for himself and his family, because it spoke of his outlook on life, making the most of each day, enjoying his horses and proud of his tool shed and being able to turn his hand to many jobs and roles," said Fr Baxter.
Fr Baxter read a quotation from Pope Francis which he had noticed hanging in the McGinley home, urging people not to be sad but to trust in Jesus as a good friend and patient father.
"It seems to capture as well some of how you have described Barney to me as well over these last few days.
"A patient father, a good friend, always at your side, someone you could trust in. A gentleman is also how some of you have described Barney to me," he added.
The grandfather was remembered for his love of horses, documentaries and Westerns - knowing every line even with the sound turned down.
Mr McGinley's widow Bridget was comforted by her nine children and 49 grandchildren at St Mary's Church in the town.
Fr Baxter said Barney had lived for his wife of 41 years and their children.
During the Mass prayers were said for the kindness of Johnny Wall and Patrick Ward who had helped Barney in his last moments.
Male relatives and friends wearing white shirts and black trousers walked into the church in unison before the Mass. They later formed a guard of honour as Mr McGinley's remains were brought from the church.
Mr McGinley was shot outside the church in the village of Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, last Wednesday following an incident at a family wedding.
Following his funeral Mass he was laid to rest at Coosan Cemetery.