Northern Ireland

McAuley not seen as being of good standing by republicans – Sinn Fein TD O Broin

Simon Harris, the man who is next in line to be Ireland’s premier, criticised the Irish flag being draped over Pearse McAuley’s coffin.

Eoin O Broin
Eoin O Broin Eoin O Broin (Niall Carson/PA)

Convicted garda killer Pearse McAuley was not seen as being a man of “good standing” by any republican in the country, a Sinn Fein TD has said.

McAuley, who was in his late 50s, was found dead in his home in Strabane last week.

He was sentenced to 14 years in jail for the manslaughter of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, who was shot dead by an IRA gang during a post office raid in Co Limerick in June 1996.

At McAuley’s funeral in Strabane on Thursday, his coffin was draped in an Irish flag with a black beret and gloves placed on top.

After Simon Harris was confirmed as Fine Gael leader on Sunday, he criticised the tricolour being draped over “the coffin of a garda killer”.

Asked whether it was appropriate to have a tricolour draped over McAuley’s coffin, Eoin O Broin said on Monday: “Ultimately, funerals are a private matter for the people organising them, Sinn Fein wasn’t in any way involved in that funeral, as you know.

“Certainly I was very uncomfortable watching given Pearse McAuley’s treatment of my party colleague Pauline Tully.”

In 2015, McAuley was sentenced to 12 years for stabbing his estranged wife, Pauline Tully, now a Sinn Fein TD, with a steak knife at her home on Christmas Eve in 2014.

The pair had married while McAuley was serving his 14-year sentence for the garda killing.

“I never met Pearse McAuley, but in my view, particularly given his treatment of my party colleague Pauline Tully, he’s not a republican. He’s not somebody I have any time for, had any time for or any respect for,” Mr O Broin said.

“Obviously, during the peace process there were important negotiations, including around the release of political prisoners, and what Sinn Fein did during that time was essential to consolidate and secure the peace process.

“But I have to say, given how events transpired, Pearse McAuley isn’t somebody who I have any time for whatsoever.”

He added: “I don’t know a republican anywhere in the country that has any time for Pearse McAuley, or would see him as somebody of good standing.

“Pauline Tully is a republican, Pauline Tully is the kind of republican that I’m proud to be a colleague of. And I think in particular, given his treatment of Pauline I think that says everything about Pearse McAuley.”