IRA bombmaker claims he was behind Lord Mountbatten’s assassination

Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes said he designed the bomb that killed Lord Mountbatten and others in 1979

An IRA bombmaker has claimed he was behind the assassination of Lord Mountbatten.

The King’s great-uncle was murdered when the IRA blew up his lobster boat during a holiday in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in August 1979.

Thomas McMahon was arrested on the day of the attack and jailed for life until he was released under the Good Friday Agreement.

However, Michael Hayes, who is in his 70s and is also a chief suspect in the Birmingham pub bombing in 1974 which resulted in the deaths of 21 people, has now claimed McMahon “was only a participant”.

Hayes, who lives in Dublin, said: “I am an explosives expert, I am renowned. I was trained in Libya. I trained there as an explosives expert.”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on his claims, which were made to the Mail on Sunday.

When asked by the newspaper if he designed the bomb used on Lord Mountbatten’s boat, Hayes said: “Yes, I blew him up. McMahon put it on his boat ... I planned everything, I am commander in chief.”

He added: “I blew up Earl Mountbatten in Sligo, but I had a justification, he’d come to my country ... Look at the famine? Are we to forget that? The Black and Tans? He came to my country and murdered my people and I fought back. I hit them back.”

Lord Mountbatten was a cousin to the Queen and a mentor to Prince Charles and uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh.

In 2015, the King made a pilgrimage to the site of Lord Mountbatten’s murder in Mullaghmore. The attack also killed his teenage grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and Paul Maxwell, a 15-year-old deckhand. Lady Brabourne, who was also on the boat, died the next day. The others on board survived.

Hayes was named at an inquest in 2019 into the Birmingham Pub bombings.

He previously gave an interview to the BBC in which he said he took “collective responsibility” for the IRA’s attacks on the British mainland, including the explosions in the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs in Birmingham.