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Calls for Garda investigation after ex-IRA commander’s ‘confession’ to Mountbatten bombing

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Ian Paisley described the comments by Michael Hayes as “shocking and blood-curdling”.

Approached by the Mail on Sunday, Hayes boasted he was the man behind the assassination of the great-uncle of King Charles III in August 1979 on the west coast of Ireland.

Only one man was previously convicted in connection with the bombing in which Lord Mountbatten (79) died alongside his grandson Nicholas (14), the boy’s grandmother Lady Doreen Brabourne (83), and crewman Paul Maxwell (15), who was from Enniskillen.

Queen Elizabeth, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Queen Mother Elizabeth and others leave Westminster Abbey after the Lord Mountbatten funeral service

They were killed when a bomb exploded on Lord Mountbatten’s pleasure boat off the coast of Co Sligo during a holiday at his summer home.

Thomas McMahon, arrested on the day of the blast, was jailed for life but later released under the Good Friday Agreement.

Dublin man Hayes said that he did not regret killing Lord Mountbatten and coldly described the two teenage boys who died as “casualties of war”.

Asked by the Mail on Sunday if he was the man who designed the bomb, he said: “Yes, I blew him up. [Thomas] McMahon put it on his boat… I planned everything. I am commander-in-chief.

Michael Hayes

“Them children were not supposed to be on the boat in the first place,” he added.

“Yes, I regret that. That wasn’t meant to happen. I’m a father. I’m not made of stone. I was sickened. I cried.”

While Buckingham Palace has declined to comment, DUP MP Ian Paisley said the Garda Síochána should now immediately investigate Hayes over his comments.

“The sensational, shocking and blood-curdling statement by a self-confessed, cold-blooded murderer ought to be immediately investigated by the police and the man brought to justice,” he said.

He was joined in calling for the gardai to investigate by senior Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who served in NI with the Scots Guards and said it was “important to get to the truth”.

An Garda Síochána told the Belfast Telegraph it was not in a position to comment.

“As a matter of public record, two persons were prosecuted in respect of the murder of Lord Mountbatten,” it said.

“One individual was acquitted and a second individual served a sentence of imprisonment and was subsequently released pursuant to the Good Friday Agreement.

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) at the Ministry of Defence, London, in 1965. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“An Garda Síochána does not comment on named persons.”

Mary Hornsey (84), mother of 15-year-old victim Paul Maxwell, said she would welcome a police investigation into Hayes’s claims “to see whether or not he was involved, whether he really was the commander who did give the order”.

She told the Mail on Sunday: “I think we would require justice, not revenge.”

Ms Hornsey said the loss of her son was “something that never goes away”.

Hayes has never before linked himself to the murder of Mountbatten and the other victims, who died when a remote-controlled 50lb bomb exploded.

He was named as a suspect at an inquest as having been involved in the 1974 IRA Birmingham pub bombings.

Hayes said: “Tom McMahon, he was only a participant.

“I am an explosives expert. I am renowned. I was trained in Libya. I trained there as an explosives expert.”

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