Real IRA leader is found guilty of directing terrorism

Seamus McGrane plotted an explosion during State visit of Prince Charles two years ago

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.

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.

 

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 on Tuesday 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, Coo Louth was convicted of directing the activities of an unlawful organisation, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hÉireann, 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.

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 19th, 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 12th, 2010 and to a bomb on a railway line.

She added that gardaí had discovered “a veritable arsenal of weapons and explosives substances” in hides on land adjoining Mc Grane’s house , which included ammunition, a revolver, mortar parts and bomb making components.

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