Belfast Telegraph

Real IRA chief who had plotted to bomb Prince Charles dies in prison

Dead: Real IRA’s Seamus McGrane
Dead: Real IRA’s Seamus McGrane

By Staff Reporter

A dissident republican leader who died in jail had found prison "really hard going", associates said.

Real IRA chief Seamus McGrane (64), who was jailed for plotting a bomb attack during Prince Charles's visit to Ireland in 2015, passed away on Saturday.

The Irish Prison Service said his death was not being treated as suspicious. It is understood McGrane died following a suspected heart attack.

McGrane had been sentenced to 11 and a half years in 2017. He was only the second person to be convicted of directing terrorism in the Irish Republic - the other was Michael McKevitt.

McGrane's trial at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin heard he discussed an operation involving explosives in the run-up to Prince Charles's visit in 2015.

McGrane, last of Little Road, Dromiskin, Co Louth, was convicted of directing the activities of an unlawful organisation between April 19 and May 13, 2015.

He was also convicted of membership of the IRA between January 18, 2010 and May 13, 2015.

Sentencing McGrane, a judge had said that it was "a most serious offence".

His trial heard from secretly recorded telephone conversations with fellow dissident Donal O Coisdealbha, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for possessing explosives.

The meetings took place between April and May 2015, in the weeks leading up to Prince Charles's historic visit to Mullaghmore in Sligo, where his uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed in an IRA attack in 1979.

McGrane told O Coisdealbha: "Go with whatever plan you wish. I think he's coming on the 19th (a reference to Prince Charles). I don't like an embarrassment."

He then mentioned "military significance", to which his friend replied: "Symbolic, symbolic is right."

The ONH boss was also recorded talking about the terror gang's 2010 attempt to blow up Palace Barracks - MI5's Northern Ireland headquarters on the outskirts of east Belfast.

McGrane's insistence on picking high-profile targets matches the picture painted of him by fellow dissident republicans.

A dissident source said: "Shay passed away peacefully after a short illness. He wasn't in the best of health when he ended up in jail and found it really hard going."

An Irish Prison Service spokesman said: "As with all deaths in custody, the Prison Service, the Inspector of Prisons and An Garda Siochana will be investigating the incident."

Belfast Telegraph


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