Wedding guest killers should turn themselves in, say police

Bernard McGinley was shot and killed outside St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler on Wednesday �Matt Mackey/
Bernard McGinley was shot and killed outside St Mary's Church in Newtownbutler on Wednesday �Matt Mackey/

The killers of a grandfather attending a traveller community wedding in Fermanagh have been urged to hand themselves in to police.

Bernard McGinley, 63, was gunned down in front of his wife and grandchildren as the bride prepared to walk down the aisle of St Mary’s Catholic Church in Newtownbutler on Wednesday.

Shortly before 1pm, Mr McGinley and a man in his 30s were shot in the small village close to the border with the Irish Republic.

Detective Chief Inspector Una Jennings said Mr McGinley was originally from Longford and was a “well-regarded” member of the traveller community.

DCI Jennings said the PSNI know the identity of the killers and said they should give themselves to police on either side of the border.

“We are following a number of very definite lines of enquiry in this investigation, thanks to accounts of events outside the church before the wedding ceremony given to us by other guests,” she said.

“We are working with our colleagues in An Garda Siochana to locate those individuals. We know who they are.

“It would be better for all concerned if they made themselves available to police as soon as possible so that we can build a complete picture of what happened yesterday and the background to those tragic events,” the senior detective added.

Parish priest Fr Michael King said he carried on with the wedding as he “could do nothing else”.

“They were anxious to get this girl married so I went ahead and I did mass and I did the wedding,” he said. “The bride was a bit traumatised so I just spoke to her and told her to take a few deep breaths and relax herself.”

The man who was injured along with Mr McGinley did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

DCI Jennings went on to say: “I would appeal to those involved to think about what has happened and to think about the prospect of a life of constantly looking over their shoulder, fearing arrest or possible retribution.

“It would be so much better for them, and for all concerned, to come forward and make themselves available to police before any further bloodshed.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott said the fact the murder took place outside a church made it particularly sinister.

He said those responsible must be apprehended as soon as possible: “It is very worrying that certain people have access to firearms and willing to use them for any reason.”