Saturday 17 November 2018

Man guilty of plotting Prince Charles explosion

A Real IRA leader who plotted an explosion during the State visit of Britain's Prince Charles two years ago has been found guilty by the Special Criminal Court 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 Seamus 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, County 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 19th and May 13th, 2015.

He was also convicted of membership of the IRA between January 18th, 2010 and May 13th, 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 the 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. The judge said the recording also referred to a "military operation" of significance and "the main attack" on May 19th, the date that Prince Charles was due to carry out a State visit.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, presiding, remanded Mr McGrane in custody for sentencing on November 14th next.

Drogheda Independent