Sunday 4 December 2016

A meeting of two men, but not of minds

Stuck in the past, Gerry Adams has no enemies left to fight except the ghosts in his own head, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 24/05/2015 | 02:30

REMEMBERING: Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall at Mullaghmore with Isabella and Timothy Knatchbull
REMEMBERING: Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall at Mullaghmore with Isabella and Timothy Knatchbull
Mary Hornsey, above left, and John Maxwell, right, parents of Paul Maxwell (15), who died onboard Shadow V in Mullaghmore, August 1979

Nothing made the murder of Lord Mountbatten seem so distant in time as hearing a recording on radio of veteran RTE newsreader Don Cockburn reporting the former Viceroy of India's death, and that of three others, on that August day in 1979. It was the sound of another era.

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Nothing, in turn, made that terrible day feel more real and immediate than watching the victims and bereaved make a pilgrimage to the site in Co Sligo where it happened.

Speaking to Sean O'Rourke on radio last week, Irishwoman Elizabeth Wood-Martin, who was out in Mullaghmore harbour that day in a different boat, recalled how she and her husband, Richard, rescued 14-year-old Timothy Knatchbull after the explosion, hoping as they did so that he wouldn't be too badly injured. She described her thought process as they pulled the boy from the water: "He has a head. He has arms. He has a body. Will he have legs? Yes, he did."

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