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One-time IRA 'hero' and garda killer spent latest jail stint getting drunk on prison hooch

Woman beater Pearse McAuley spent his time in jail battling his own demons

Pearse McAuley at court

Eamon Dillon

DISOWNED by the republican movement, one-time IRA hero Pearse McAuley spent his latest eight-year stint behind bars getting drunk on homemade hooch and using smuggled drugs.

McAuley served his first sentence as an admired republican volunteer but the second time around, as a savage wife-beater, he became nothing but a common criminal fighting his own demons.

As if to underline his lower status in the prison pecking order, an attempt to assert some power in July 2018 backfired when he and another inmate went to attack another in his cell.

For some reason McAuley wanted to teach the man a lesson but instead ended up on the receiving end as his target easily fought off his attackers.

Pearse McAuley leaving Castlerea Prison

As a result ex-Sinn Fein councillor Jonathon Dowdall who was in the prison at the time suffered a sustained attack by the man who thought the ‘IRA men’ had been in collusion.

In the same year a woman from his native Strabane who had been visiting him was prosecuted over attempting to smuggle diazepam prescription tablets into the prison.

The tablets were found in a security area through which visitors pass.

Ironically the pair got to enjoy time together while her case was going through the local District Court where McAuley faced separate charges over possessing a mobile phone in his cell.

He had been caught red-handed with the phone and charger to which he pleaded guilty in court

The court heard how he had been fully co-operative with the authorities and was a trusted prisoner in the jail at the time.

He was given a sentence of one month.

McAuley second’s long stint in Castlerea was in complete contrast to his first which he spent mostly in The Grove unit of Castlerea where inmates lived in chalets and cooked their own meals.

Serving a 14-year sentence for his part of the 1996 botched robbery that led to the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe, he was a republican hero.

Along with Neasa Quinlivan he had escaped form Brixton Prison in 1991, an escapade that delighted the Provos and embarrassed the British establishment.

The IRA men in prison alongside McAuley and other republicans were allowed to hold Easter parades and enjoy privileges and freedoms ordinary inmates could only dream of.

While serving his time there he met his wife Pauline Tully and they got married in 2003 six years before his eventual release in 2009.

By 2014, however, she had to get a protection order against him as the couple separated.

During the brutal attack on Christmas Eve he hit Pauline Tully and stabbed her 13 times in a two-and-a-half-hour ordeal during which she and her then two young sons thought she would die.

Responding to the news of his release, Pauline Tully, now a Sinn Fein TD for Cavan Monaghan told the Sunday World she knew his release date was coming.

“As far as I am concerned my life will go on as normal and I will not have any direct contact with him.”

“I presume he will adhere to the terms of the barring order which is in place and understand that no contact in any form is permitted.”

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