The Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing the leniency of the sentence imposed on Pearse McAuley for a violent assault on his estranged wife during which she was stabbed 13 times in front of their children.

The veteran IRA member and convicted garda killer was sentenced to 12 years with four suspended last month for the attack which took place on Christmas Eve in 2014.

McAuley had pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, producing a knife and causing serious harm to Pauline Tully McAuley at their home in Kilderry, Kilnaleck, Cavan.

Ms Tully McAuley, a former Sinn Féin councilor, said the incident had a horrific effect on their children and that she would be living in fear for the rest of her life.

The sentencing hearing in Cavan last month was told that the DPP felt the incident was in the most serious category of these offences and merited a 12-year sentence.

Judge John Aylmer agreed but he suspended four of the 12 years because of McAuley's guilty plea and his expressions of remorse and shame.

With remission and time served, McAuley will be released in less than five years.