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

Mary Lou McDonald described the murder of Lord Mountbatten as 'heartbreaking."

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has apologised for the IRA's assassination of Lord Mountbatten.

Ms McDonald described the murder of Lord Mountbatten as 'heartbreaking."

Lord Mountbatten died along with two members of his family and a Co Fermanagh teenager on a fishing boat in County Sligo, Ireland, in 1979.

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."

Prince Charles pictured with Lord Mountbatten Credit: UTV

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," Ms McDonald added.

Aftermath of the attack on Lord Mountbatten in Co. Sligo Credit: UTV

"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.