Saturday 24 February 2018

Man put bomb on bus and made phone threats during queen's visit

Queen Elizabeth in Cork during her state visit here in 2011
Queen Elizabeth in Cork during her state visit here in 2011

Daniel Hickey

An incendiary device was found on a passenger bus amid bomb threats made during the state visit of Queen Elizabeth five years ago, the Special Criminal Court was told.

Donal Billings (66), with an address at St Bridget's Court, Drumlish, Co Longford, was found guilty last month of the unlawful possession of an explosive substance at Longford railway station car park on May 16, 2011. He was also found guilty of four further offences under the Criminal Law Act of 1976.

Billings was convicted of making a false report within the State on May 16, 2011, that bombs had been placed at Busáras in Dublin and at Sinn Féin's headquarters.

He was also convicted of making false reports on May 18 that two mortars were set for Dublin Castle, and on May 20 that two bombs had been placed in the toilets at Cork Airport.

At a sentence hearing yesterday, Detective Inspector Pat Finlay, of Longford Garda Station, told the court how a caller said that there was a bomb on a Dublin-bound Corduff Travel passenger bus, a second bomb on a bus at Busáras, and a third bomb at Sinn Féin headquarters in Dublin.

The Corduff Travel bus was stopped on Station Road, Maynooth, and searched by gardaí who found a suspicious object in the luggage compartment.

The device, a combination of gunpowder and a two-litre bottle containing petrol, had the potential for "great destruction", the court heard.

Gardaí also searched the Sinn Féin offices and the other bus. Nothing was found.

A further phone call was made on May 18, threatening two mortars were set at Dublin Castle - coinciding with a state banquet for Queen Elizabeth.

The caller said: "This is for the queen of blood and war of Iraq."

Gardaí traced the shop where the SIM card used to make the calls was bought. They also used CCTV to identify Billings as a suspect.

Billings was remanded in custody until December 15, when he will be sentenced.

Irish Independent

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