Sinn Féin TD says he does not think any republican ‘shed a tear’ at death of garda-killer McAuley

David Cullinane agrees with Garda Commissioner that draping of flag on McAuley’s coffin was ‘outrageous’

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has said he agrees with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris who branded the draping of the Tricolour on the coffin of garda killer and IRA member Pearse McAuley as “outrageous”.

The Waterford TD also said he does not think any republican “shed a tear” when McAuley died last week.

McAuley shot dead Det Jerry McCabe in Adare, Co Limerick during a 1996 IRA bank robbery. Sinn Féin later pushed unsuccessfully for his release from prison as part of the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

After being collected in 2009 from prison by Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris, McAuley was later reimprisoned for the 2014 stabbing and beating of his then wife, Pauline Tully, who is now a Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan. No prominent Sinn Féin members attended McAuley’s funeral last week and the party has said it had no involvement in it.


The use of the Irish flag at McAuley’s funeral was criticised by new Fine Gael leader and presumptive taoiseach Simon Harris at the weekend.

Speaking at the the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) conference, Drew Harris said the national flag had been “abused and disrespected” by its placement on McAuley’s coffin.

Asked at a press conference in Dublin if he agreed with the commissioner’s comments, Mr Cullinane replied: “Yes I do, in short, to be honest and Pearse McAuley is not somebody that I would have any time for.”

Asked if Sinn Féin politicians would have attended McAuley’s funeral had it not been for the attack on Ms Tully, Mr Cullinane replied: “No”, adding that this was because McAuley is “not a republican”.

“There’s a lot of issues there. We have made our position very clear on it. He has not been associated with republicanism for a long, long time. And yes, in part it’s because of what happened to one of our colleagues. But I have no truck whatsoever with Pearse McAuley. I don’t see him as a republican.”

On whether Sinn Féin regrets supporting McAuley’s early release from prison after the killing of Det McCabe, and Mr Ferris meeting him after his eventual release, Mr Cullinane said his “generation is not going to re-fight the old battles of a conflict that’s over” and he and other party TDs want to deliver plans and show their vision for Ireland’s future.

Speaking at a press conference on the party’s plan to improve local GP and health services, he said: “At a time of the peace process, everybody, including the Irish government was part of a process to release qualifying prisoners ...

“It was an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement ... It was an important part of the peace process.

“But you’re asking me specific questions about somebody who has passed away that I have no truck with whatsoever. I don’t think any republican shed a tear when Pearse McAuley passed away.

“That’s the reality and I’ve made that clear.”

Mr Cullinane said he was unable to attend the funeral on Wednesday of Rose Dugdale, a British heiress who joined the Provisional IRA and later became a bombmaker for the paramilitary group, as he had other engagements.

“There are people who were involved in the conflict and there are republicans that in my view, made sacrifices,” he said. “Rose Dugdale is one of those individuals. There is a time and a place to bury your dead and people who passed away.”

He said he was sure people from Sinn Féin would attend her funeral, “in the same way that I’m sure there are people who go to funerals of those who were involved in the conflict and who were maybe members of loyalist paramilitaries or the British army”.

“There is a lot of healing that has to be done as part of the peace process.”

Mr Cullinane said Michelle O’Neill was delivering at Stormont as a “First Minister for all” and Sinn Féin should be judged on what the party is doing now. He said this was “what we’re about at the moment”.

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