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Marriage murder led to violent and “reprehensible” clashes in the Midlands

Four members of a traveling Midlands family who became involved in a violent argument outside a Midlands petrol station nearly seven years ago over the shooting death of a relative in Northern Ireland have been sentenced to suspended prison terms.

Sammy McGinley (33), Denis McGinley (37), both of 6 Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co Westmeath, Mick McGinley (20) 5 Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co Westmeath and Bernard McGinley (22) 10 Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Co Westmeath have all been charged with violent disorder following an incident at Hanlon’s Gala, Dublin Road, Longford on 3 June 2019.

The quartet appeared before a Longford Circuit Criminal Court hearing for sentencing on Friday.

Mick and Bernard McGinley were also charged with property damage and theft respectively, while Sammy and Denis were charged with possession of an item on the day in question.

Sammy, Denis and Mick McGinley were all sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for a period of five years on condition that each of the men sign a €500 peace pact and pay €2,000 in compensation to Longford Tidy Towns.

Bernard McGinley, meanwhile, was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for five years after the court found his involvement in the incident was on the “lower end” of the scale.

He was also ordered to pay Longford Tidy Towns a sum of €1,000

Garda Rachel Dillon told the court how she and fellow Garda Leo Shiel were walking past a petrol station on Longford’s Dublin Road at around 8.30pm when a large group of people were seen fighting in front of the terrified public.

Garda Dillon said the violence shown was so severe that customers had to lock themselves in their cars while staff were forced to close the main door of the store “to ensure customer safety”.

The court heard a family member of the McGinleys pull up to buy diesel as four other men approached the van in which Mr McGinley was arriving.

She said Garda Shiel noticed Denis McGinley holding a five-foot stick before seizing it and arresting him under Section 24 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act.

She said during his attempts to restrain Mr McGinley, another man picked up the stick as the melee escalated.
As it turned out, Sammy McGinley was seen “striding and goading others” while Mick McGinley was spotted smashing the passenger-side window of a vehicle.

CCTV footage from the scene also showed Bernard McGinley taking the vehicle’s keys before placing them in a bin.

All four were arrested on December 8, 2020 and charged with violent disorder.

Sammy and Denis McGinley were also charged with possession of a gun, while Bernard McGinley was charged with theft.
Mick McGinley was also charged with criminal damage.

In a voluntary alert to Gardai in October 2019, Denis McGinley said he was in Longford that day to settle a dispute between two other local traveler families.

He said he received a call about his son’s disturbance that evening and arrived at the scene moments later.
CCTV footage of the episode, which lasted about 30 minutes, was played before Presiding Judge Keenan Johnson this afternoon.

Gerard Groarke BL, for Sammy McGinley, said the incident was not an ongoing feud but rather “differences” that arose between the “Longford McGinleys and McGinleys of Athlone” over the 2015 murder of Bernard “Barney” McGinley in Northern Ireland be.

A father and his son were sentenced in 2018 to a total of seven and a half years in prison for a shooting outside St Mary’s Catholic Church in Newtownbutler on February 11, 2015.

Judge Keenan Johnson described the incident as “completely reprehensible” and said the people of Longford should not be subjected to such acts of brazen violence in front of shocked members of the public.


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