Belfast Telegraph

Real IRA leader McGrane guilty of Prince Charles bomb plot

 

A Real IRA boss who plotted an explosion during Prince Charles’s visit to the Republic two years ago has been found guilty by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin of directing the activities of a terrorist organisation.

Seamus McGrane, who was also convicted of IRA membership, is only the second person to be convicted of directing terrorism in the State. His ally Michael McKevitt was jailed for 20 years in 2003 for directing terrorism.

The court found that McGrane (63) discussed an operation involving explosives in the run-up to the State visit of Prince Charles two years ago.

McGrane, of Little Road, Dromiskin, Co Louth was convicted of directing the activities of an unlawful organisation, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA, between the dates of April 19 and May 13, 2015.

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

Convicting McGrane, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding at the non-jury court, said that there was “the clearest evidence of directing an illegal organisation”.

She said that there was evidence from two audio recordings, from April and May 2015, of McGrane and Donal O’Coisdealbha in conversation in the snug of The Coachman’s Inn on  Airport Road — a pub that had been bugged by Garda detectives.

McGrane had issued instructions to Mr O’Coisdealbha regarding meeting other people and had made statements about providing bomb-making material for others.

McGrane mentioned experimenting with the development of explosives and discussed strategy and his involvement in training people in the IRA and “swearing in” people to the organisation.

The judge said the recording also referred to a “military operation” of significance and “the main attack” on May 19, the date that Prince Charles was due to carry out a State visit.

McGrane had also referred in the recordings to an attack on Palace Barracks — the MI5 headquarters in Northern Ireland — on April 12, 2010 and to a bomb on a railway line. She added that Garda had discovered “a veritable arsenal of weapons and explosives substances” in hides on land adjoining McGrane’s house, which included ammunition, a revolver, mortar parts and bomb-making components.

Ms Justice Kennedy, presiding, sitting with Judge Sinead Ni Chulachain and Judge Cormac Dunne, remanded McGrane in custody for sentencing on November 14.

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