Northern Ireland

Newtownbutler wedding shooting: Father and son jailed

The shooting happened in the grounds of a Catholic church in Newtownbutler Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The shooting happened in the grounds of a Catholic church in Newtownbutler

A father and son have been jailed for seven and a half years in relation to a shooting at a wedding in Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, in 2015.

One man was killed while another was injured during the incident outside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newtownbutler..

The wedding involved two families from the travelling community.

On Friday, 49-year-old Patrick McGinley from Ardlougher Road, Irvinestown, was jailed for four years.

It came after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 63-year-old Barney McGinley.


At Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Colton told McGinley that he would serve a further four years on supervised licence following his release from prison.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption William (left) and Patrick (right) McGinley were both jailed on Friday (archive image)

Patrick McGinley's son, 29-year-old William McGinley from Sallyswood, Irvinestown, was jailed for three and a half years after.

He admitted to wounding Barney McGinley's son, Bernard Oliver McGinley with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The judge told him that he would serve a further three years and nine months on supervised licence on his release from jail.

Patrick McGinley Sr's two other sons - Patrick McGinley Jr (24), from Lisfarrell in Edgesworthtown, Co Longford; and Bernard Patrick McGinley (18), from Ardlougher Road, Irvinestown, had pleaded guilty to a charge of affray over the same incident.

Patrick McGinley Jr was ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service while Bernard Patrick McGinley was given a 12 month probation order.

'Family feud'

It was the Crown's case that the shooting happened outside St Mary's Catholic Church in Newtownbutler in February 2015, where the wedding of Patrick McGinley Sr's niece was due to take place.

Senior prosecutor Neil Connor QC said that "there appeared to a considerable amount of bad blood between the two families which could be termed as a 'family feud'."

"As a result of this 'feud' there was bad feeling in existence before the event in question," he said.

The court heard that Barney McGinley turned up at the church with his wife in a van and parked up near to his nephew Patrick McGinley Sr.

It was his presence at the wedding that sparked the incident, the court was told.

Image copyright other
Image caption Barney McGinley, 63, was flown to hospital in the police helicopter but died from his injuries

Mr Connor said there appeared to have been "some sort of altercation and they had a heated exchange" before the deceased drove out of the car park and headed up the main road where he met other family members.

Following a discussion, Barney McGinley returned and parked up outside the church where there was a further altercation and a home made 'pipe gun' or 'stick gun' was produced.

The court heard a claim that the weapon was brought to the scene by a "person in the company of the deceased".

The court heard Patrick McGinley Sr claimed he "forcibly removed the pipe gun from the deceased" and he claimed it was discharged during a struggle.

William McGinley picked up the "crude" weapon, reloaded it with a further shotgun cartridge and fired it at the back of the deceased's son, Bernard Oliver McGinley, from a range of six to ten feet.

During what was described as a "melee", Patrick McGinley Jr and his teenage brother Bernard Patrick McGinley became involved in the incident - rushing forward from the church to assist their father.

Mr Connor said Barney McGinley was put in a vehicle and then taken to Lisnaskea police station from where he was airlifted to the Erne hospital by helicopter.

"He died in hospital some time after that," said Mr Connor.

The prosecutor said the pathologist gave the cause of death was as a result of a "shotgun wound to the abdomen''.

'Nothing can cure anguish'

It was claimed Patrick McGinley Sr had made allegations at police interview about Barney McGinley, but they were looked into by the PSNI and were "entirely refuted", said Mr Connor.

At the sentencing hearing, Mr Justice Colton said it was clear that the 'stick gun' or 'pipe gun' had "not been brought" to the wedding by any of the four defendants and had in fact been brought by an associate of the deceased.

He told the court there was "no question of pre-planning or premeditation" on the part of father of five Patrick McGinley Sr.

Although his three sons had no previous convictions, Mr Justice Colton said scrap dealer Patrick McGinley Sr did have previous convictions.

He had received a suspended sentence at a court in Dublin 1999 for violent disorder and also had two convictions in Belgium in 2010 and 2011 for fraud.

The judge said that it was clear from victim impact statements that Barney McGinley was a "much loved father of nine, grandfather of 48 and great grandfather of two" who had been married to his wife Brigid for 41 years.

The statements by his family said he was much missed "particularly at Christmas''.

Mr Justice Colton said that no length of prison sentence handed down by the court could "cure their anguish".

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