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Sinn Fein apologies for IRA’s 1979 assassination of Prince Philip’s uncle Louis Mountbatten

Sinn Fein apologies for IRA’s 1979 assassination of Prince Philip’s uncle Louis Mountbatten – 24 hours after Duke’s funeral

  • Louis Mountbatten was killed in 1979 when IRA blew up his yacht in Mullaghmore
  • His 14-year-old grandson and the boatman, 15, were both also killed in the blast
  • Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said she was sorry it happened and said it was ‘heart-breaking’, comments which came the day after Prince Philip’s funeral 

The leader of Ireland’s Sinn Fein party on Sunday apologised for the group’s killing of Prince Philip‘s uncle Louis Mountbatten.

The IRA, of which Sinn Fein was once the political wing, killed Philip’s mentor in 1979 as part of the decades-long conflict waged between Irish republicans and those who wanted Northern Ireland to remain in British hands.

Mary Lou McDonald’s comment came the day after the husband of Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest, following his death at the age of 99 on April 9.

The leader of Ireland’s Sinn Fein party on Sunday apologised for the group’s killing of Prince Philip’s uncle Louis Mountbatten. Pictured: Lord Mountbatten with Prince Philip in 1965

Earl MountbattenLouis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou Macdonald (right) described the killing of Lord Mountbatten (left) by the IRA as heartbreaking as she apologised the day after his nephew Prince Philip’s funeral

‘Of course I am sorry that happened, of course that is heart-breaking,’ McDonald told Times Radio.

‘I am happy to reiterate that on the weekend that your queen buried her beloved husband,’ she added.

It was the first time the political leader of Irish republicans has apologised for the bombing, with McDonald’s predecessor Gerry Adams saying at the time that Mountbatten was a legitimate target.

Lord Mountbatten was holidaying with his family, as he did every August, at Classiebawn Castle, on the west coast of Ireland when the attack took place.

The IRA had placed a bomb on his custom boat Shadow V which was then detonated shortly after it departed for a day trip.

Louis Mountbatten pictured with members of his family on Shadow V at Mullaghmore, County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland, circa 1975. He was killed on a similar fishing trip in 1979

Louis Mountbatten pictured with members of his family on Shadow V at Mullaghmore, County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland, circa 1975. He was killed on a similar fishing trip in 1979

The group stated at the time that the ‘bombing was a discriminate act to bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country’. 

Three other people, including Mountbatten’s 14-year-old grandson and a 15-year-old boy, were killed when the IRA blew up Mountbatten’s yacht in the Irish village of Mullaghmore.

Lord Mountbatten was Philip’s maternal uncle as the brother of Philip’s mother Alice and it is thought the two were extremely close up until his death at the hands of the IRA. 

Lord Mountbatten’s daughter, Lady Patrica Brabourne, 55, her husband Lord Brabourne, 54, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, 82, and Nicholas’s twin brother, Timothy, also were on board and were taken to hospital. 

Lady Brabourne died the day after the attack while receiving treatment in hospital. 

Mountbatten was also a mentor to Philip’s son Prince Charles.

McDonald said Sunday that ‘my job, and I think Prince Charles… would absolutely appreciate this, is to lead from the front now, in these times.

‘It’s all of our jobs to make sure that no other child, no other family, irrespective of who they are, face the kind of trauma and heartbreak that was all too common sadly in all sides on this island and beyond,’ she said.

Around 3,500 lives were lost in the conflict between unionists and nationalists over the future of Northern Ireland that ended with a landmark peace deal in 1998.

On Saturday, Irish prime minister Micheal Martin warned against a ‘spiral back’ into sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland, as a week of riots raised fears for the future of the fragile deal.

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