Irish Leader Addresses Assassination of Prince Philip's Uncle

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald is sorry about 1979 assassination
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2021 4:39 AM CDT
Irish Leader Addresses Assassination of Prince Philip's Uncle
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald talks to the media at the count centre in Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Prince Philip's uncle was assassinated by members of the Irish Republican Army in 1979, and in the wake of the prince's death, the current leader of Sinn Fein, once the political wing of the IRA, has apologized. "Of course, I am sorry that happened; of course, that is heartbreaking," Mary Lou McDonald told a London radio station of the bombing of Lord Louis Mountbatten's boat. The attack was carried out when he was at his Irish vacation home, Classiebawn Castle, during the Northern Ireland Troubles when the IRA was fighting the British government; it also killed his oldest daughter's mother-in-law, his 14-year-old grandson, and the boy's 15-year-old friend, all of whom were along on the lobster potting trip at the time. The underground paramilitary group quickly claimed responsibility.

Asked whether she would apologize to Prince Charles for the attack (Lord Mountbatten served as a mentor to him), McDonald said yes, report the New York Times and the Guardian. But, she added, "The army and armed forces associated with Prince Charles carried out many, many violent actions on our island." (Indeed, at the time, the IRA said Mountbatten was a legitimate target, having served as a commander in the British army; his death was the group's most direct attack on British royals.) Even so, she said, Sinn Fein is now peaceful, and "it is all our jobs to ensure 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 am happy to reiterate that on the weekend that your queen buried her beloved husband." (Read more Prince Philip stories.)

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