MARY LOU McDonald has come under pressure after refusing to say that the 1979 IRA killing of Lord Mountbatten was wrong.
The Sinn Féin leader was speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time last night following an interview after the death of Prince Philip in which she admitted she was 'sorry' Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA-- but has since declined to say it was wrong for the group to murder him.
Last week, Ms McDonald told The Radio Times that the murder of Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip's uncle, in 1979,was "heartbreaking" and said she was "sorry it happened".
It marked the very first time that a Sinn Féin leader has apologised for the bomb attack on a boat on the coast of Ireland, in which four people, including two teenage boys, were killed.
However when pressed on the issue by presenter Fran McNulty on Prime Time if killing a member of the British Royal family was wrong, Deputy McDonald said she "[didn't] know that that is the case".
Sinn Féin Leader @MaryLouMcDonald speaks to @franmcnulty on the Murder of Lord Mountbatten at the hands of the IRA in 1979 #rtept pic.twitter.com/GFzEy05Lfz
— RTÉ Prime Time (@RTE_PrimeTime) April 22, 2021
When asked further if it was truly a "big bridge" to say the murder was wrong, Ms McDonald said it is "no bridge at all to say that it was deeply, deeply saddening, deeply hurtful and war itself is wrong" but did not describe the act itself as wrong.
She is "heartbroken" for everyone killed or injured in the Troubles, she said, and acknowledged that many families on both sides are still awaiting justice.
On the Mountbatten killing, she said "Their family were bereaved and children were killed that day", but "It was an act that happened in the context of a war, and ... the whole scenario was wrong.
"It was wrong that Ireland was partitioned," she said. "It was wrong that people suffered."
She went on to say that "the conflict is over" and "we are not re-fighting the conflict battle by battle".