Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Ex-IRA man denies Prince Charles and Diana murder plot

By Alan Preston

An ex-Irish man who joined the IRA has denied he was part of an assassination plot against Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Kieran McCarthy spoke of what drove him to terrorism and claimed media reports of the alleged plot against the royal couple were untrue.

But he declined to comment on whether he targeted Army bases.

McCarthy was arrested in 1990 in Belgium along with others in an IRA active service unit, weeks before the royals were due to visit. He served 10 months in jail.

"We didn't even know they were coming. It was pure coincidence," he said. "It wasn't the operation we were planning. We were planning a variety of operations at the time."

Now an independent councillor in Cork, he is writing a book about his experiences.

McCarthy said his sympathies for the IRA began when serving along the border with the Irish Defence Forces.

He claimed British "undercover snatch squads" were crossing the border with the assistance of loyalists and killing republicans.

"(That) made me further question what we in the Irish Army were doing on the border. We were a toothless tiger," he said.

He alleged British soldiers badly treated him and colleagues crossing the border to visit a market in south Armagh in 1976.

"They grabbed us and put us up against the wall, with their guns trained on us," he said.

"They knew we were Irish Army. They were just making an example of us in front of the community. They were saying it was their country. That was a turning point for me."

He was aware of other Irish soldiers who joined the IRA.

Kenny Donaldson, a victims rights campaigner with the South East Fermanagh Foundation, said McCarthy's IRA past could not be defended. He said: "No matter what real or perceived grievances he or others had, there was never justification for the use of terrorism and criminal violence in the pursuance of or defence of a political objective."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph