The terrorist attack that killed Lord Mountbatten (inset) and two children was a “war crime” for which Martin McGuinness was ultimately responsible, former IRA members have claimed.
Speaking in a new BBC documentary being screened on Monday, two former IRA prisoners speak candidly about the murder of the senior royal figure – and the callousness of planting a bomb on a boat knowing children would be present.
Nicholas Knatchbull aged 14 and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell, along with Lady Doreen Brabourne, 83, all died when the IRA bomb exploded on board the former Admiral of the Fleet’s fishing boat on August 27, 1979.
Anthony McIntyre, who served a prison sentence for murder, told the film-makers that his former comrades who planned the attack must have known that children were in mortal danger, while a Dublin-based former IRA ‘intelligence officer’ said the late first minister Martin McGuinness – as Provisional IRA chief of staff at the time – had to “take responsibility”.
McIntyre said that given the magnitude of an attack, on a cousin of the Queen, he believed “that was a decision taken at the most senior level” of the organisation.
“If they knew about the children, and were quite prepared to go ahead and to sacrifice their lives in order to get Mountbatten, then it’s a war crime.”
Commenting on his assertion that Martin McGuinness was in charge at the time of the murders in Co Sligo, Conway said: “That’s the way it works – if you’re the boss you take responsibility for what goes on.”
Sinn Fein has dismissed the claims.