NewsCrime Desk

Man accused of Barney McGinley murder says shooting was accidental

Shot: Barney McGinley
Shot: Barney McGinley

A 46-year-old man accused of killing Barney McGinley told police the shooting was accidental.

Patrick McGinley (46) and his son William (26) appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates' Court via video link from Maghaberry Prison. 

The pair are charged with murdering Barney McGinley, who was shot dead at a family wedding in County Fermanagh in February of this year. 

The 46-year-old maintains he was being seriously assaulted when he grabbed the improvised firearm from a member of the McGinley family and it went off. 

He is also charged with the attempted murder of Barney's 38-year-old son, Bernard McGinley Junior, on the same occasion on 11 February. 

A detective inspector told the court that at 1pm on the day in question they received a 999 call with a report of shots fired at a wedding at St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler.

The victim was transferred to Lisnaskea Police Station before being airlifted to the South West Acute Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. 

A second man received a gunshot wound to his back while third man received stab wounds from a machete-style weapon. The detective told the court the accused, along with his son, were identified by witnesses of the attack. 

The pair fled the scene but presented themselves at a police station a short time later with an account of what occurred on the day. The court heard about of violence within the family and grudges between certain members. 

McGinley (above), the accused, said his father had told him there were other members of the family waiting for him at the reception in Dublin to get him. He also says his house has been the subject of a gun attack since the wedding. 

The court heard of various internal grievances within the family and that the son of the accused was told by the victim that he would be leaving the wedding in a body bag. 

It was heard Patrick was seen on CCTV footage walking to the spot where the bride was stood and then bolting off down the hill to where the shooting was taking place. 

The detective accepted that Patrick was dressed for the occasion and was not carrying a weapon, but that he was joined by three of his sons, one of which he was in contact with. 

A solicitor told the court that Patrick McGinley's father was seriously injured during the fracas, having been stabbed by the deceased's son. He told the court the men were the subject of a very serious assault in Longford in 2013 and had made statements to Gardai. They maintain they have been the subject of a long-running campaign by the other McGinley's to retract their statements concerning the attack. 

"They were confronted that morning at the wedding about retracting their statements", their solicitor said. 

Concerning the gun attack, the detective told the court shots were fired at the home of Patrick McGinley and a son of the deceased was identified at the scene. 

The accused's legal team submit they were the ones who were attacked and that CCTV footage clearly shows Patrick McGinley does not have a weapon on him. 

"He made the case he took the weapon from one of the McGinley family and it was discharged accidentally while he was under attack", the solicitor said. 

He said the accused should not be kept in custody. 

However, Judge Nigel Broderick said there is a risk of further violence if the pair were granted bail and that the State was concerned the two accused would not turn up for their trial. 

He remanded them in custody to appear in court again on June 8 via video link.