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shift in tone ‘I am sorry that happened' – Mary Lou McDonald’s apology for IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten

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Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said sorry for the IRA's murder of Lord Mountbatten and his teenage grandson.

Ms McDonald spoke out a day after Prince Philip’s funeral, in a significant shift in tone from her predecessor Gerry Adams.

Lord Mountbatten was the Duke of Edinburgh’s uncle and was killed while fishing off the coast of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo in 1979. He had been holidaying in his summer home of Classiebawn Castle.

The IRA bomb also killed his grandson Nicholas (14) and young Fermanagh crew member Paul Maxwell (15). The Dowager Baroness Doreen Brabourne (83), was injured and died in a hospital the next day.

Ms McDonald told The Times Radio: "I'm sorry that happened. It was heartbreaking.”

Her comments contrast with Mr Adams who said he regretted the incident but also stood over comments that the royal family member ‘knew the danger’ of coming to Ireland.

The IRA maintained that Lord Mountbatten was a legitimate target.

When asked if she would apologise to the Prince of Wales, Ms McDonald told Times Radio: "The army and armed forces associated with Prince Charles carried out many, many violent actions on our island.
"I can say of course I am sorry that happened. Of course, that is heartbreaking. My job, and I think that Prince Charles and others would absolutely appreciate this, my job is to lead from the front, now, in these times."

Speaking against the backdrop of increasing tensions in Northern Ireland, she added: “I believe it is all our jobs to ensure that no other child, no other family, no matter who they are, suffers the same trauma and heartbreak that was all too common on all sides of this island and beyond.

“I have an absolute responsibility to make sure that no family faces that again and I am happy to reiterate that on the weekend that your Queen buried her beloved husband."

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