Republic of Ireland news

Sinn Féin leader apologises for IRA's murder of Lord Mountbatten

Prince Charles with Earl Mountbatten and Prince Philip
Taz Ali, PA

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has apologised for the IRA’s assassination of Lord Mountbatten following the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Ms McDonald described the murder of Lord Mountbatten – who died along with two members of his family and a Co Fermanagh teenager – on a fishing boat in County Sligo in 1979 as “heartbreaking”.

Her comments came a day after a funeral service was held for Philip, Lord Mountbatten’s nephew, at Windsor Castle on Saturday.

When asked on Times Radio whether she would apologise to the Prince of Wales over the assassination – which her predecessor Gerry Adams reportedly refused to do – she said: “The army and the armed forces associated with Prince Charles carried out many, many violent actions on our island.”

She added: “And I can say of course I am sorry that that happened, of course that is heart-breaking.

“And my job, and I think Prince Charles and others would absolutely appreciate this, is to lead from the front now in these times.

“And I believe it is all of our jobs to ensure that no other child, no other family, irrespective of who they are, face the kind of trauma and heartbreak that was all too common on all sides on this island and beyond.

“I’m happy to reiterate that at the time and on the weekend that your Queen buried her beloved husband.”

She relayed how Charles had written her a “lovely letter” last year after she fell ill with Covid-19, adding: “I thought that was most decent and kind of him.

“Whereas we are not obviously monarchists, we’re republicans, that’s our political view, we have the utmost respect for that family and for who they are and what they represent to British people and indeed to unionists and loyalists here.

“And interestingly, the conversations that you have when people like us meet people like the royal family are not conversations around recriminations or there’s never a demand for apologies.”

The bomb planted on the fishing boat by republican paramilitaries also killed Lady Doreen Brabourne, the 83-year-old mother-in-law of the earl’s daughter, his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell, from Killynur, Enniskillen.

Lord Louis Mountbatten. Picture: PA Wire

Paul Maxwell (15), from Enniskillen, was killed on August 27, 1979. He was working as a boat boy on boat which was blown up by an IRA bomb off the Mullaghmore, Co Sligo. The teenager was killed alongside the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten and his grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull (14)

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