November 20th, 2014

Mountbatten bomber key member of Sinn Fein candidate Carthy’s team

NewsBy Niall Donald
Thomas McMahon mingles among a crowd
Thomas McMahon mingles among a crowd

THE IRA godfather who murdered Lord Mountbatten in 1979 is a key member of European Sinn Fein candidate Matt Carthy’s election team.

The revelation comes as the ghost of the party’s past came back to haunt it this week when leader Gerry Adams was arrested for questioning in relation to the  murder of Jean McConville.

The bombshell development has now engulfed ‘New Sinn Fein’s’ high-flying Euro election candidates.

Dublin opinion poll topper Lynn Boylan yesterday proudly tweeted a picture of herself and Adams as he entered his third day of questioning for the brutal abduction and murder of McConville.

And today the Sunday World can reveal that convicted killer Tommy McMahon has been driving a tractor carrying MEP hopeful Carthy’s election posters in the west.

Carthy (36), is one of the new breed of Shinners candidates without links to the party’s murderous paramilitary past.

Carthy, who is Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty’s best friend, is currently the bookies’ favourite to be elected MEP for the newly created Midlands, North West constituency.

Along with the party’s other European candidates Lynn Boylan, Martina Anderson and Liadh Ni Riada, Carthy had no involvement in the Sinn Fein/IRA terror campaign. 

But despite his squeaky-clean image, the Carrickmacross native has employed one of the most infamous Provo killers of The Troubles to help him get elected.

For the last few weeks, McMahon (66), has seen putting up posters for his neighbour Carthy and even drives a mobile advertising van with a large picture of the Sinn Fein candidate on it. 

Tommy McMahon was responsible for one of the most notorious massacres in the history of The Troubles in which Mountbatten, a cousin of the Queen and Prince Charles’s great uncle, was blown to bits.

In this image, he can be seen decked out in the IRA’s traditional white shirt and black tie at a commemoration for an IRA volunteer in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, earlier this year.

Speaking to the Sunday World, a spokesman for Carthy, whose uncle is the well-known RTE GAA commentator, Brian Carthy, said McMahon was not a campaign director for Carthy.

“Tommy McMahon is not a member of the Midlands North West campaign directorate. However, he is a Sinn Féin activist. He is also a former political prisoner, who was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

“He is a staunch supporter of the Peace Process who works tirelessly in his community every day to promote peace and reconciliation along the border region.”

However, one local told the Sunday World that a lot of people in the area aren’t happy with his involvement.

“Tommy is a very quiet man, he wouldn’t have been in any trouble since his release, absolutely not,” said a local.

“But still, some people remember what the IRA did to this area and the threats and intimidation people suffered. There are a good few of us who think Carthy is trying to play both sides of the fence.

“He wants to be clean, but still have the old Provos on board.”

Carpenter McMahon built the bombs which led to the murders of Lord Mountbatten (79), Lady Brabourne (82) and Paul Maxwell (14). Teen Paul was employed as a helper on the boat.

The blast, on a small fishing boat off Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, also killed Lord Mountbatten’s grandson Nicholas 14,

McMahon was convicted of four counts of murder in the Special Criminal Court in Dublin in November 1979 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was eventually released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, despite claiming that he had severed links with the IRA in 1990.

Lord Mountbatten was fatally wounded in the blast; he was pulled alive from the water by local fishermen but died before he reached the shore. Lady Brabourne died from her injuries in hospital the next day.

When building his deadly device, McMahon used a radio controlled detonator instead of a timer so the IRA could guarantee that Mountbatten was aboard the 30ft Shadow V vessel.

McMahon handed over the remote control to another IRA man who would keep watch over Donegal Bay and press the button once the boat made its way out .

However after he drove away, McMahon and Francis McGirl, from Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim were stopped at a routine garda checkpoint in Co. Longford two hours before the bomb went off.

McGirl was eventually put on trial for murder but was cleared of all charges. He died in 1995.

Oblivious of the capture of his two comrades a third IRA man kept vigil above Mullaghmore waiting for the Shadow V to leave harbour.  He detonated the bomb to coincide with another IRA attack in Warrenpoint, Co. Down.  

The Warrenpoint attack killed 18 soldiers – the Provos’ deadliest single toll against the British Army.

In 2009, the father of tragic Paul Maxwell, John, revealed how McMahon has refused to meet him despite repeated attempts. He said: “There was a priest I knew who was in contact with him and he made the connection.

“The only message I got back was that he didn’t want to meet. My door is still open. I would like to know his motivation. I would like to know what kind of a person he is.”