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RIP Retired garda sergeant whose actions led to conviction in Mountbatten IRA murder dies aged 70

Seamus (Seamie) Lohan of Shrule, Co Mayo died on Sunday following a brief illness

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Lord Louis Mountbatten

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Lord Louis Mountbatten

A retired garda sergeant whose alertness led to the only conviction in the IRA murder of Lord Louis Mountbatten has died at the age of 70.

Seamus (Seamie) Lohan of Shrule, Co Mayo died on Sunday following a brief illness.

Mr Lohan, of Gallows Hill, Castlebar, was a young guard on checkpoint duty in Granard, Co Longford just hours before an IRA bomb exploded on the fishing boat used by Lord Mountbatten off Mullaghmore, Co Sligo on August 27, 1979.

The explosion killed Mountbatten, his grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull, (14), and local boat hand Paul Maxwell, (15) . The dowager Lady Brabourne (82), who was also on the boat, died from her injuries 24 hours later.

Mr Lohan became suspicious of Thomas McMahon who was a front seat passenger in the car and the driver, whom he suspected of stealing the car. They were arrested and taken to the local garda station two hours before the explosion.

His alertness while on duty led to McMahon being tried for the assassinations.

McMahon, a member of the South Armagh brigade of the IRA, was considered to be one of the IRA’s top bomb makers.

Forensic evidence showed flecks of paint from the boat and traces of nitroglycerine on his clothes. He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for murder on 23 November 1979, but was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Meanwhile, Mr Lohan, who was subsequently promoted to rank of sergeant, told RTE’s Tommie Gorman that: “It was all about luck, being in the right place at the right time,” in documentary called “ Remembering Mullaghmore” which aired in 2015 when Prince Charles visited the site of his granduncle’s murder.

Mr. Lohan said: “I became suspicious when I noticed that the driver’s hands were shaking. He was unable to get his key into the lock of the boot. I had to open the boot myself.”

He is survived by his wife Kathleen née Gillespie, (Knockmore), daughters Marie, Christine and Helena, son James, brother John, sister Nuala, grandchildren James, Seán, Rory, Florence and Heather, son-in-law Ollie, daughter-in-law Melanie, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives and friends.

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He was predeceased by his daughter Elizabeth and sisters Maureen and Alicoque.

His body is to be removed from his home tomorrow morning at 11.30 to St. Joseph’s Church, Shrule for his funeral mass at noon with burial afterwards in Shrule Cemetery.

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