Sinn Féin’s President, Mary Lou McDonald, apologized publicly for the 1979 IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip’s uncle.
Mountbatten died in August 1979 when a bomb exploded in the small boat he was in off the Irish coast. The attack was alleged by the IRA, which at the time was waging war against British forces on behalf of the unification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland and was one of the most symbolic acts of the armed group.
The day after Philip’s funeral, which was very close to Mountbatten, McDonald said he regretted the attack. Mountbatten was also a protective figure for Prince Charles. “I can say that I am sorry about what happened. Of course it’s heartbreaking, ”Mary Lou McDonald said in an interview with Times Radio, quoted by The Guardian.
However, the leader of Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, which was officially wiped out in 2005, recalled that “the army and armed forces associated with Prince Carlos have carried out many, many violent acts on our island”.
Nonetheless, McDonald wanted to underline a message from the call for peace. “I believe it is part of our job to see that no children, no families, whatever, endure the same trauma and desolation that has been so common all over this island and beyond,” he said .
The Sinn Féin leader’s public apology represents a change in attitude at the head of the Republican Party. His predecessor, Gerry Adams, mourned Mountbatten, but he always referred to the risks Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin took when traveling in Ireland had to enter.