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Eoin Ó Broin outside Leinster House today Jane Matthews
Sinn Féin

Eoin Ó Broin: There isn't a Republican 'anywhere in the country' who has time for Pearse McAuley

Former IRA member Pearse McAuley died last week.

SINN FÉIN TD Eoin Ó Broin has said he was “very uncomfortable” watching the funeral of former-IRA member and garda killer Pearse McAuley last week. 

McAuley was convicted of killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe during an attempted robbery in Adare, Co Limerick in 1996.

McAuley, who was also convicted for stabbing his estranged wife Pauline Tully (who is now a Sinn Féin TD) multiple times, was buried in Strabane last week. 

During the funeral, McAuley’s coffin was draped in an Irish flag and videos show men marching in formation alongside the coffin. 

Yesterday, during his first speech as leader of Fine Gael, Simon Harris received a standing ovation from Fine Gael members when he spoke about it being a shame to see McAuley’s coffin draped in the tricolour. 

Harris spoke of the need to “take back our flag”. 

Speaking to reporters outside Leinster House today, Ó Broin said McAuley was not a Republican. 

As part of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin unsuccessfully appealed for McAuley to be released from prison while he was serving his sentence for the manslaughter of Detective Garda Gerry McCabe. 

Following his release from prison, Martin Ferris, who was a Sinn Féin TD, collected McAuley from prison in 2009. 

In 2015, Ferris said he had “no regrets” about his meeting with McAuley but insisted that McAuley’s attack on his estranged wife Pauline Tully was indefensible.

Ó Broin was asked today if in retrospect Ferris should have met McAuley when he came out of prison. 

“I’ve 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 or any respect for,” Ó Broin said in response.

He continued: “Obviously during the Peace Process there were important negotiations including around the release of political prisoners and the work Sinn Féin did during that time was essential to consolidate and secure the Peace Process. But I have to say, given how events transpired laterally, Pearse McAuley isn’t somebody who I have any time for whatsoever.”

“I certainly wouldn’t see him as Republican or somebody of any standing,” the Dublin Midwest TD added.

Ó Broin was asked if he agreed with Simon Harris that it was inappropriate for McAuley’s coffin to be draped in the tricolour. 

He said in response: “Funerals are a private matter for people the people who organise them. Sinn Féin wasn’t in any way involved in that funeral as you know. Certainly I was very uncomfortable watching it given Pearse McAuley’s treatment of my party colleague Pauline Tully.”

When asked if this was his position or reflected his party’s position, Ó Broin said he doesn’t know a Republican “anywhere in the country” who has time for McAuley. 

“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 as a person,” Ó Broin said.

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