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Pearse McAuley pictured at his wedding to Pauline Tully in 2003 PA Images

Garda killer Pearse McAuley described as 'philosopher' during funeral mass

The former IRA member was buried in Strabane Cemetery today.

THE FUNERAL OF former IRA member Pearse McAuley has taken place in county Tyrone.

He was buried in Strabane Cemetery following a mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception this morning.

McAuley, who was imprisoned for the killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and a brutal assault on his former wife Pauline Tully, was found dead at his home in Strabane on Monday.

Rev Declan Boland told the congregation: “The sense of suffering, emptiness and pain that death brings to those who are left behind to mourn is a heavy burden to bear, and this family bears it this morning.”

During the eulogy, mourners were told that the Pearse McAuley known to his family and friends was very different from the man depicted in the media.

“It was a side so far removed from what was documented and reported. In essence, Pearse was an educator, a philosopher, and a deeply sincere man of hope. To those who knew you best, they will miss you most.”

pearse eulogy The funeral was streamed online today Church of the Immaculate Conception Church of the Immaculate Conception

McAuley is survived by his sons Pearse and Eoghain, his partner Mary, and his siblings Nancy, Siobhan, Patricia and Míchéal.

He was predeceased by his parents Pearse and Sheila, and his siblings Fionnuala, Thomas, Seamus and Maura.

Prison escape and Adare killing

McAuley escaped from Brixton Prison in London in 1991 while awaiting trial on charges related to a suspected plot to assassinate Charles Tidbury, who was a brewing executive.

McAuley then made his way to Ireland and was a member of an IRA gang that attempted an armed robbery of a post office van in Adare in 1996.

McAuley was convicted of killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during that attempted robbery in Adare, Co Limerick.

Initial charges of murder against him and three others were dropped after witnesses refused to testify for fear of the IRA.

jerry jpg Detective Garda Jerry McCabe RTÉ / YouTube RTÉ / YouTube / YouTube

In 1999, McAuley was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the manslaughter of Detective Garda McCabe. He served 10 and a half years for manslaughter and was released from prison in 2009.

In an interview with PA News last November Jerry McCabe’s widow Ann McCabe said her life had “changed in every way” after he was killed, leaving behind five children.

“My husband is dead 27 years now and there isn’t a day goes by that we don’t think about him,” she said.

Pauline Tully attack

In 2015, McAuley was sentenced to 12 years for stabbing his then estranged wife, schoolteacher Pauline Tully, on Christmas Eve 2014.

Tully, now a Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan, has previously spoken about the abuse she suffered at the hands of the convicted killer.

Tully met McAuley while he was serving his sentence for the killing of Jerry McCabe. McAuley was granted temporary release in 2003 so the pair could be married.

On Christmas Eve in 2014, he stabbed Tully 13 times over the course of three and a half hours. During that time, he brought Tully’s children in and made them say goodbye to their mother.

After being convicted for the attack in 2015, McAuley was released from prison in 2022.

McAuley also had connections with former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who was jailed for four years for facilitating the murder of Kinahan cartel member David Byrne.

Prison records showed Dowdall visited McAuley 14 times in Castlerea Prison between February 2015 and January 2016.

Contains reporting by Jane Matthews and Press Association