|Born||1948 (age 69–70)|
Monaghan, County Monaghan, Ireland
|Allegiance||Provisional Irish Republican Army|
|Years of service||1970–1990|
Thomas McMahon (born 1948) is a former volunteer in the South Armagh Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), and was one of the IRA's most experienced bomb-makers.
Volunteer, often abbreviated Vol., is a term used by a number of Irish republican paramilitary organisations to describe their members. Among these have been the various forms of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and the Irish People's Liberation Organization (IPLO). Óglach is the equivalent title in the Irish language.
The South Armagh Brigade of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) operated during the Troubles in south County Armagh. It was organised into two battalions, one around Jonesborough and another around Crossmaglen. By the 1990s, the South Armagh Brigade was thought to consist of about 40 members, roughly half of them living south of the border. It has allegedly been commanded since the 1970s by Thomas 'Slab' Murphy who is also alleged to be a member of the IRA's Army Council. Compared to other brigades, the South Armagh IRA was seen as an 'independent republic' within the republican movement, retaining a battalion organizational structure and not adopting the cell structure the rest of the IRA was forced to adopt after repeated intelligence failures.
The Provisional Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, facilitate the reunification of Ireland and bring about an independent republic encompassing all of Ireland. It was the biggest and most active republican paramilitary group during the Troubles. It saw itself as the successor to the original IRA and called itself simply the Irish Republican Army (IRA), or Óglaigh na hÉireann in Irish, and was broadly referred to as such by others. The IRA was designated an unlawful terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and an unlawful organisation in the Republic of Ireland.
McMahon was convicted of the murder of Admiral of the Fleet The 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and three others (two children and an elderly lady) at Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in the west of Ireland.
Admiral of the Fleet is a five-star naval officer rank and the highest rank of the Royal Navy formally established in 1688. The five-star NATO rank code is OF-10, equivalent to a field marshal in the British Army or a marshal of the Royal Air Force. Other than honorary appointments no new admirals of the fleet have been named since 1995.
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman, an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II. During the Second World War, he was Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command (1943–1946). He was the last Viceroy of India (1947) and the first Governor-General of independent India (1947–1948).
Mullaghmore is a village on the Mullaghmore peninsula in County Sligo, Ireland. It is a noted holiday destination, characterised by ocean views and a skyline dominated by the monolithic shape of Ben Bulben mountain. It is in the barony of Carbury and parish of Ahamlish.
He planted a bomb in Shadow V, a 27 ft fishing boat belonging to Mountbatten at Mullaghmore, County Sligo, near Donegal Bay. Lord Mountbatten was killed on 27 August 1979 by the bomb blast along with three other people: The Dowager Baroness Brabourne, Mountbatten's elder daughter's mother-in-law; his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull; and a 15-year-old crewmember Paul Maxwell.
Donegal Bay is an inlet in the northwest of Ireland. Three counties – Donegal to the north and west, Leitrim and Sligo to the south – have shorelines on the bay, which is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The town of Donegal and the River Eske lie at the head of the bay.
Doreen Knatchbull, Dowager Lady Brabourne, CI was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, socialite and victim of the Provisional IRA.
The IRA claimed responsibility for the act in a statement released immediately afterwards. In the statement from the organisation they said: "This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country."
McMahon was arrested by the Garda (the Republic of Ireland's police force) two hours before the bomb detonated, having been initially stopped on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle.
An Garda Síochána, more commonly referred to as the Gardaí or "the Guards", is the police service of the Republic of Ireland. The service is headed by the Garda Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern part of the island, and whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George's Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.
He was tried for the assassinations in the Republic of Ireland, and convicted by forensic evidence supplied by Dr James O'Donovan that showed flecks of paint from the boat and traces of nitroglycerine on his clothes.He was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder on 23 November 1979, but was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Dr James O'Donovan was, until his retirement in 2002, the senior forensic scientist to the Garda Technical Bureau of the Garda Síochána. He is most notable as a key witness in the Irish Republican Army murder of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and as the target himself of Irish criminal Martin Cahill.
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or Belfast Agreement was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. Northern Ireland's present devolved system of government is based on the agreement. The agreement also created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
After his release, Toby Harnden in Bandit Country reported that McMahon was holding a tricolour in the first rank of the IRA colour party at a 1998 IRA meeting in Cullyhanna.However, according to a BBC report, McMahon has said that he had left the IRA in 1990.
He has twice refused to meet Paul Maxwell's father, John, who has sought him out to explain the reasons for his son's death. In a May 2011 interview for The Telegraph, Maxwell stated that he had "made two approaches to McMahon, the first through a priest, who warned me in advance that he thought there wouldn't be any positive response. And there wasn't. I have some reservations about meeting him, obviously – it might work out in such a way that I would regret having made the contact. On the other hand, if we met and I could even begin to understand his motivation. If we could meet on some kind of a human level, a man to man level, it could help me come to terms with it. But that might be very optimistic. McMahon knows the door is open at this end."
He likewise refused requests from Knatchbull's twin brother, who lost an eye in the same explosion. The latter, however, has forgiven McMahon and other members of the IRA who committed the act.
His wife has stated "Tommy never talks about Mountbatten, only the boys who died. He does have genuine remorse. Oh God yes."
McMahon lives with his wife Rose in a hillside bungalow in Lisanisk, Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. He has two grown sons. He helped with Martin McGuinness's presidential campaign in 2011, erecting posters for McGuinness around Carrickmacross.
Patricia Edwina Victoria Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma,, was a British peeress and the third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. She was the elder daughter of Admiral of the Fleet the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and his wife, the heiress Edwina Ashley, a patrilineal descendant of the Earls of Shaftesbury, first ennobled in 1661. She was the elder sister of Lady Pamela Hicks, first cousin to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the last surviving baptismal sponsor to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
Thomas "Slab" Murphy is an Irish republican, believed to be a former Chief of Staff of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. His farm straddles County Armagh and County Louth on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In December 2015, Murphy was found guilty on nine counts of tax evasion following a lengthy investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau of the Republic of Ireland. In February 2016, Murphy was jailed and sentenced to 18 months in prison. One of three brothers, Murphy is a lifelong bachelor who lived on the Louth side of his farm before his imprisonment.
Norton Louis Philip Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma, known until 2005 as Lord Romsey and until 2017 as The Lord Brabourne, is a British peer.
John Ulick Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne,, professionally known as John Brabourne, was a British peer, television producer and Oscar-nominated film producer. Married to a daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten, Brabourne was a survivor of the bombing which killed his father-in-law, mother and son.
The Kingsmill massacre was a mass shooting that took place on 5 January 1976 near the village of Whitecross in south County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Gunmen stopped a minibus carrying eleven Protestant workmen, lined them up alongside it and shot them. Only one victim survived, despite having been shot 18 times. A Catholic man on the minibus was allowed to go free. A group calling itself the South Armagh Republican Action Force claimed responsibility. It said the shooting was retaliation for a string of attacks on Catholic civilians in the area by Loyalists, particularly the killing of six Catholics the night before. The Kingsmill massacre was the climax of a string of tit-for-tat killings in the area during the mid-1970s, and was one of the deadliest mass shootings of the Troubles.
John Joe McGirl was an Irish republican, a Sinn Féin politician, and a former chief of staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Gilbert "Danny" McNamee is a former electronic engineer from Crossmaglen, Northern Ireland, who was convicted in 1987 of conspiracy to cause explosions, including the Provisional Irish Republican Army's (IRA) Hyde Park bombing on 20 July 1982.
The Warrenpoint ambush or Narrow Water ambush, also called the Warrenpoint massacre or Narrow Water massacre, was a guerrilla attack by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 27 August 1979. The IRA's South Armagh Brigade ambushed the British Army with two large roadside bombs at Narrow Water Castle in Northern Ireland. The first bomb was aimed at a British Army convoy and the second targeted the reinforcements sent to deal with the incident. IRA volunteers hidden in nearby woodland also allegedly fired on the troops. The castle is on the banks of the Newry River, which marks the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The Rt Hon. Sir Maurice Gibson, P.C., was a Lord Justice of Appeal in Northern Ireland. He was killed, along with his wife Cecily, Lady Gibson by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Toby Harnden is an Anglo-American journalist and author. He has been Managing Editor of the Washington Examiner since October 2018. He was Washington bureau chief of The Sunday Times from January 2013 until September 2018. He previously spent 17 years at The Daily Telegraph, based in London, Belfast, Washington, Jerusalem and Baghdad, finishing as US Editor from 2006 to 2011, and was also US Executive Editor of Mail Online and US Editor of the Daily Mail for a year in 2012. He is the author of two books: Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh (1999) and Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan (2011). Dead Men Risen won the 2012 Orwell Prize for Books. He was reporter and presenter of the BBC Panorama Special programme Broken by Battle about suicide and PTSD among British soldiers, broadcast on July 15, 2013.
Bernard Henry McGinn was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) member, specialising in explosives, who was sentenced to a total of 490 years' imprisonment in 1999. He was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out two bomb attacks against British coal ships in February 1981 and February 1982 at Lough Foyle, a large inlet between County Londonderry in Northern Ireland and County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Both vessels were sunk, but their crews reached the coastline safely in lifeboats.
The occupation of Cullaville took place on 22 April 1993, when 12 armed members of the South Armagh Brigade of the Provisional IRA set up a checkpoint on the main crossroads of Cullaville, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, isolating the small village for a two-hour period, despite the presence of a British Army watchtower some yards away. The IRA men withdrew before the security forces in the area could react.
Classiebawn Castle is a country house built for The 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865) on what was formerly a 10,000-acre (4,000 ha) estate on the Mullaghmore peninsula near the village of Cliffoney, County Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland. The current castle was largely built in the late 19th century.
Margaret Perry was a 26-year-old woman from Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland who was abducted on 21 June 1991. After a tip from the IRA, her body was found buried across the border in a field in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, County Sligo, Ireland, on 30 June 1992. She had been beaten to death. Her murder has never been solved.
The Provisional IRA (PIRA) targeted the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory (NIFSL) buildings on Newtownbreda Road in the outskirts of Belfast with a large 3,000 lb bomb on 19 September 1992. The huge impact of the bomb destroyed the lab and damaged over 1,000 homes within a 1.5 mile radius, including adjacent Belvoir Park, a Protestant housing estate. It was one of the biggest bombs ever detonated during Northern Ireland's Troubles, causing massive damage and being felt from over 10 miles away. Hundreds of residents had to be treated for shock. Several military vehicles were damaged. The lab was a key target because it analysed evidence in terrorist cases. The IRA had given a warning, and British Army bomb disposal experts were investigating an abandoned van when the explosion occurred. One estimate put the repair damage cost at £20 million at the time.
On the 17 July 1975 the South Armagh Brigade of the Provisional IRA (IRA) detonated a land mine when a British Army patrol passed over the land mine, killing four British soldiers & seriously injuring one other in the process of the explosion. This was the first major breach in the truce negotiated by the IRA and British government back in February 1975. The attack took place in Forkhill which was right on the Irish border and a safe have for IRA Volunteers from South Armagh.