Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein meetings after top Provo held over stabbing of his wife

By Paul Williams

Sinn Fein members are holding a number of emergency meetings to discuss the possible fallout after IRA Garda killer Pearse McAuley's arrest in connection with a knife attack on his wife.

There is deep concern in the party after Pauline Tully-McAuley was stabbed several times at the couple's home.

Ms Tully-McAuley, the estranged wife of the IRA man, is recovering from surgery for the wounds she suffered during the attack in Kilnaleck, Co Cavan, on Christmas Eve.

Her husband, who served 10 years in prison for killing Detective Garda Jerry McCabe, was also being treated in Cavan General Hospital.

He was released back into the custody of gardai late yesterday evening, and officers resumed their interviews with him at Cavan Garda station last night.

Meanwhile, it is understood Sinn Fein has held a number of meetings to discuss how they will handle the situation.

"Apart from the family tragedy involved, Sinn Fein are very concerned about all this. Pauline is a member of the party. Pearse is considered a hero of the IRA," a local party activist revealed.

"But there is a lot of anger about this and we want to see justice done. This was a savage attack on a mother of two little boys who has served her party well, this attack was unforgivable."

Yesterday a senior Sinn Fein figure spoke for the first time following the attack on Mrs Tully-McAuley when Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghin O'Caolain conveyed his support and sympathy for the former party councillor.

He said: "I have known and worked with Pauline Tully-McAuley for many years. I am proud to call her both a colleague and a friend. The horror of the ordeal that Pauline and her children faced on Christmas Eve is beyond comprehension."

Ms Tully-McAuley suffered up to a dozen serious stab wounds in an ordeal that lasted for three hours on Wednesday.

It is understood that the incident was witnessed by their two sons, who are aged seven and four. She managed to alert neighbours to what had happened and they called gardai and an ambulance.

McAuley was apprehended by gardai while his wife was being rushed to Cavan hospital.

He was later hospitalised for "underlying medical issues". It is understood that he had also sustained injuries, including a broken nose, when a man came to his wife's aid.

A friend said she was "doing well" and would recover.

Story so far

IRA terrorist Pearse McAuley, who shot his way out of Brixton Prison in 1991, met his wife Pauline when she visited him during his time in jail for the manslaughter of Det Gda Gerry McCabe.

Sinn Fein was heavily criticised in 2009 when TD Martin Ferris arrived at Castlerea Prison to pick up McAuley and fellow gang member Kevin Walsh.

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