THE heartbroken children of a man gunned down at a family wedding last week paid a touching tribute to their father at his funeral mass.
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 mass of the murdered grandfather were told violence is never the answer.
Fr Turlough Baxter spoke to the congregation as a large garda presence kept watch outside.
Speaking of Mr McGinley’s sudden death, he said it 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 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,” he added.
Hundreds of mourners who gathered in Athlone for the funeral mass were told that, even after death, Mr McGinley would live on in the good things he has 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 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,” he said.
Fr Baxter read a quotation from Pope Francis which he noticed hanging in the McGinley home, urging family to not be sad but trust in Jesus who is a good friend and patient father.
“It seems to capture some of how you have described Barney to me 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.
He was remembered for his love of horses, documentaries and Western movies, 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 told how Barney had lived for his wife and children. The couple had been married for 41 years and Barney’s greatest wish was to make his Bridgie happy.
During the mass, prayers were said for those who were such great help in Barney’s last
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 killed following an incident at a family wedding. He was shot outside the church in the village of Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, on Wednesday.
Following his funeral mass he was laid to rest at Coosan Cemetery.