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Huge Garda operation at Traveller funeral over murder threat

More than 100 gardai were involved
More than 100 gardai were involved

MORE than 100 gardai were involved in a major operation across at least four counties after receiving information of a potential murder attempt at a Traveller funeral.

The huge midlands garda operation happened before and during the funeral of John ‘Dodie’ Stokes over three days last week.

Senior sources said the operation was mounted after “information came in” that Patrick McGinley (49), who was due to attend the ceremony, was to be shot dead by a rival faction from Athlone.

Patrick and his son William McGinley (28) are both charged with the murder of 63-year-old Bernard ‘Barney’ McGinley who was shot dead in front of his wife Brigid while attending a wedding at St Mary’s Church, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh, on February 11, 2015.

In an unfortunate twist, the anniversary of the alleged murder of ‘Barney’ McGinley was due to take place the day after Friday’s funeral which led to heightened tension levels.

However, because of a massive garda operation which spanned counties Longford, Westmeath, Cavan and Roscommon, there were no incidents.

Garda units including the armed Regional Support Unit and dog section, were on hand to ensure proceedings passed off peacefully at St Mel’s Cathedral and at a
funeral home in Longford town.

There was also armed checkpointsset-up at locations miles from the funeral and bomb and weapons sweeps were carried out at Ballymacormack Cemetery in Longford.

Sources say Patrick McGinleydid not show up for the funeral and no arrests were made.

“This major garda operation was necessary because of the grave threat to public safety,” a senior source said.