Northern Ireland news

DUP councillor suspended from party over 'ill-judged' Prince Philip remark

DUP Alderman Bill Keery

A DUP councillor has been suspended from the party over "ill-judged" remarks about the Duke of Edinburgh.

Ards and North Down representative Bill Keery has retracted his comment that Prince Philip's first meeting with his future wife, then aged 13, might be "talked about as being groomed" of it happened today.

He issued an “unreserved apology” for the remark made during a fulsome tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s late husband at a special meeting of the council last week.

The DUP said that "the party officers have suspended Cllr Keery from membership of the party pending further investigation”.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has insisted that comments about the murder of Lord Mountbatten did not mark a change in position of expressing sorrow for all deaths during the Troubles.

She said the remarks during an interview with Times Radio on Sunday were a reiteration of her sadness for all deaths and injuries.

Amid uncertainty over whether she was making a specific apology for Lord Mountbatten's killing by the IRA in Co Sligo in 1979, Mrs McDonald was asked yesterday to clarify her remarks.

"I have never any difficulty whatsoever in expressing my profound sorrow and sadness for all death and injury in the course of the conflict," she said.

"That's been my position, it's a long-established position. And I have to say it wasn't newsworthy that I reiterated that yesterday."

Earl Mountbatten was a great-uncle and mentor of the Prince of Wales.

Lord Louis Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA with a bomb on his fishing boat off the Co Sligo coast in 1979

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