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Queen Elizabeth shakes hands with Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast Photo by: Paul Faith/PA Wire

McGuinness confirms he discussed Mountbatten murder with Queen Elizabeth

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Queen Elizabeth shakes hands with Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast Photo by: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness has confirmed he discussed the IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten during his meeting with the Queen of England.

Former IRA man McGuinness shook hands with the Queen during their historic conversation in Belfast last week.

The meeting allowed the pair to discuss the 1979 IRA atrocity which killed Lord Mountbatten, cousin of the Queen, and three others in Sligo during the troubles.

He has confirmed that he told Queen Elizabeth that he recognised her family was directly affected by the Troubles in the IRA killing of Lord Mountbatten.

McGuinness said: “I head-on addressed this issue with the queen and Prince Philip when I said to them that I recognised that they too had lost a loved one.

“I did not shy away from the issue because I think these are things that have to be faced up to.

“There is nothing glamorous or glorious or great about war – war is absolutely terrible.

“I regret the loss of every single life, including the loss of British soldiers and those who were close to the Queen of England.

“I will not disclose her specific response but she was absolutely understanding of the need for everybody to work together to ensure we don’t go back to the past so that we can continue to move forward – she was very gracious about it.”

Asked in an Irish television interview about the issue of remorse, McGuinness referred to the history of his native Derry in the Troubles.

“The city was under occupation by British soldiers and at the time, nationalists suffered discrimination, domination and injustice,” he said.

He added, “You ask me the question, was it worth it? And all that happened, and all the loss of life, whether they were IRA volunteers, British soldiers, RUC (members), innocent civilians . . . how could I say it’s worth it?

“These were circumstances that were beyond my control as a 21-year-old.”

Referring again to his meeting with the British monarch, McGuinness admitted the Queen was ‘very nice’.

The Irish Times reports that he added, “But I don’t think that surprises people considering the way she conducted herself during her visit to the Republic last year, and her acknowledgement that all sides suffered in the conflict.”

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