Three men who were arrested in Longford on Friday morning, February 21, and charged in connection with a violent disorder incident at a funeral home in Galway last year have been denied bail.
Denis Hannafin, Curry, Longford, Robbie Hannafin, Corboy, Edgeworthstown, Longford, and Tommy Hannafin, Dublin Road, Longford, were all charged with violent disorder and assault, while Denis Hannafin was also charged with possession of a handgun on January 13, 2019.
Detective Garda Ronan Leonard told Longford District Court last Friday morning that CCTV footage showed a number of members of the Hannafin family waiting outside the funeral home at approximately 3.15pm when members of the McGinley family arrived to pay their respects to the late Winnie Stokes.
An altercation ensued, which resulted in the injury of three members of the McGinley family. Johnny McGinley suffered a gunshot wound, while Paddy McGinley received stab wounds to the back, and Denis McGinley had acid thrown at him, the court heard.
“Johnny McGinley attended UHG and had surgery, where a 25mm bullet was taken from his thigh, which was from a handgun of the same calibre,” Detective Leonard explained.
“Paddy McGinley was stabbed twice in the back and had two wounds attended. Denis McGinley had acid thrown at him at the beginning of the attack.
“Clothing was taken from the McGinleys and sent for laboratory testing and tested positive for hydrochloric acid,” he added.
“On the CCTV footage, one of the Hannafins can be seen carrying a bottle. I conducted a search of the area and found a plastic bottle with clear liquid, which was analysed and came back as hydrochloric acid.”
Detective Leonard expressed concern that if the three accused were granted bail, they would commit further offences or intimidate the McGinley family.
“I think they’ll intimidate witnesses,” he said.
“The McGinley family are living in fear. This is a feud that began in Longford in 2018 when there was an altercation between juveniles from the two families at a pool hall.
“I believe there will be revenge attacks and additional attacks on the McGinley family if they’re given bail.”
The incident in Mervue occurred just over a month after another incident of feuding between the two families, the court heard.
On December 7, 2018, at Longford Shopping Centre, Denis McGinley - a nephew of Johnny McGinley, the man who was shot - was stabbed. Denis Hannafin was arrested and charged and was on bail when the incident outside the Mervue funeral home occurred.
Tommy Hannafin was also on bail for a section 3 assault the court heard. Robbie Hannafin was not on bail for any previous offences at the time of the incident.
Detective Leonard also voiced fears that the three accused would “up sticks and move to the UK” if given bail, as Denis Hannafin is known to have property there.
Johnny McGinley, the man who received a gunshot wound in January 2019, was called to give evidence and explained that there have been a number of occasions where his family has been intimidated.
“Last May, I travelled to Fatima with my family and, while I was gone, the windows of my house were broken,” Mr McGinley explained.
“I’ve no evidence but I know who done it because they were talking to people about it and word got back to me. I reported it to gardaí in Athlone.”
Another incident occurred just two months ago when his wife drove to Dublin, he said.
“On the motorway, some of them drove behind her and spotted it was her. They didn’t do anything. They just followed her and intimidated her. When she stopped into a shop, they’d stop into the same shop. This is the intimidation I fear. It’s constant.
“I’d fear retaliation, now that they’ve been charged, that my home or my family will come under attack.”
Mr McGinley added that his uncles in Athlone are also uncles of the Hannafins, so they would have plenty of reason to be in Athlone.
“Does your family commonly talk about this feud?” asked Judge Hughes.
“We don’t count this as a feud. This is bullying. My family has never retaliated,” said Mr McGinley.
Counsel for the defence, Patrick Carthy, when cross-examining the witness, chose to focus on the two intimidation incidents Mr McGinley mentioned.
“In May 2019, when you travelled to Fatima, was there CCTV footage of your windows being broken?” he asked, to which Mr McGinley responded yes.
“Did you make a complaint?” he asked. Mr McGinley again responded yes.
“Did you identify Denis Hannafin Junior?” Mr Carthy asked.
“Yes, but the CCTV was of very poor quality,” said Mr McGinley.
Mr Carthy explained that Denis Hannafin, in fact, had an alibi for the night in question.
“The CCTV was extremely poor. I said I thought it was him but I couldn’t see his face,” said Mr McGinley, adding that the CCTV footage was from his own home cameras.
However, the incident with his wife on the motorway wasn’t reported to gardaí because “it was taking so long for them to be charged for this”, he added, referring to the Galway incident.
“I was losing faith but my faith is being restored today in the gardaí. I didn’t report the intimidation because I didn’t want to put any more heat on the fire by bringing up more charges,” he said.
Mr Carthy explained to the judge that he would be seeking bail and that the three accused were willing to put forward a cash sum of €3,650, which was being held by Denis Hannafin’s wife for all three defendants.
He added that the three would be willing to abide by any court conditions, including a stipulation that would bar them from visiting Athlone town or Moate, where members of the McGinley family reside.
“These three men are innocent in the eyes of the law until they are tried and proven guilty,” Judge Seamus Hughes remarked.
“However, these are very serious charges because they include the discharge of a firearm, a bullet recovered from a limb, a stabbing, and acid.
“I can’t lose sight of the fact that this is grounded in a feud that has extended to outer members of the families, with the stabbing of Denis McGinley taking place a few weeks before.
“I have to respect Garda Leonard that he’s satisfied with the quality of the CCTV footage and also the intimidation feared by Mr McGinley.”
With that, Judge Seamus Hughes denied bail and remanded all three of the accused in custody to Harristown District Court, where they will appear this coming Friday, February 28.