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Irish police commissioner will speak to senior officers after former IRA member said he was behind the death of Lord Mountbatten

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said he will speak to senior officers following claims by a former IRA member that he was behind the death of Lord Mountbatten.

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail yesterday, Mr Harris said he was aware of reports in the Irish Mail on Sunday in which Michael Hayes claimed to be the mastermind behind the 1979 bombing which resulted in the death of the cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Mr Harris said that he will now speak with colleagues at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) about the next steps in the case and whether or not an official investigation should be launched.

He said: ‘I’m aware of those claims and I will raise that with the NBCI in terms of further examination, but that’s not to say we’re at the point of opening an investigation. 

‘What we have is a news report. And we want to see that and just where that takes us in terms of an investigation.’

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail yesterday, Mr Harris said he was aware of reports in the Irish Mail on Sunday in which Michael Hayes (pictured) claimed to be the mastermind behind the 1979 bombing which resulted in the death of the cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II

Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail yesterday, Mr Harris said he was aware of reports in the Irish Mail on Sunday in which Michael Hayes (pictured) claimed to be the mastermind behind the 1979 bombing which resulted in the death of the cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II 

Lord Mountbatten (pictured) ¿ a mentor to both Prince Philip and the then-Prince Charles ¿ was killed aged 79 when the IRA blew up his pleasure boat while he was holidaying at his summer home in Co. Sligo in August 1979

Lord Mountbatten (pictured) – a mentor to both Prince Philip and the then-Prince Charles – was killed aged 79 when the IRA blew up his pleasure boat while he was holidaying at his summer home in Co. Sligo in August 1979

Asked if Hayes can expect to be questioned by gardaí in the near future, Mr Harris added: ‘As I said, we have to commence an investigation.’

The MoS published an interview with Hayes in which he made the remarkable claims.

Lord Mountbatten – a mentor to both Prince Philip and the then-Prince Charles – was killed aged 79 when the IRA blew up his pleasure boat while he was holidaying at his summer home in Co. Sligo in August 1979. Only one member of the IRA was ever convicted over the death; Thomas McMahon was jailed for life for murder but later released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

After being approached by a MoS reporter, Hayes bragged: ‘I blew up Earl Mountbatten.’

Killed alongside the earl were his grandson Nicholas, 14; Doreen Brabourne, 83, Nicholas’s grandmother; and crewman Paul Maxwell, 15, from Enniskillen. 

Asked if Hayes (pictured) can expect to be questioned by gardaí in the near future, Mr Harris added: 'As I said, we have to commence an investigation.'

Asked if Hayes (pictured) can expect to be questioned by gardaí in the near future, Mr Harris added: ‘As I said, we have to commence an investigation.’ 

After being approached by a MoS reporter, Hayes bragged: 'I blew up Earl Mountbatten.' Pictured: The wreckage after the explosion

After being approached by a MoS reporter, Hayes bragged: ‘I blew up Earl Mountbatten.’ Pictured: The wreckage after the explosion

Legal experts told the MoS that Hayes’s admission made him liable for prosecution for the murders, if An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions decide to pursue him.

Hayes, a grandfather who lives alone in Dublin, said that he did not regret killing Lord Mountbatten and described the two teenage boys who died as ‘casualties of war’.

He was previously named as one of four men behind the 1974 Birmingham bombings and has taken what he called ‘collective responsibility’ for all of the IRA’s actions in England.

Hayes told the MoS he was in Co. Sligo at the time of the Mountbatten bombing. He added: ‘I blew up Earl Mountbatten in Sligo, but I had a justification: he’d come to my country.’



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