Man accused of directing IRA ‘discussed explosives’

Court hears audio recording of Séamus McGrane talking about testing materials

A Co Louth man accused of directing the activities of the IRA discussed bomb-making in the snug of a Dublin pub that had been bugged by Garda detectives, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Séamus McGrane (63), of Little Road, Dromiskin, has pleaded not guilty to directing the activities of an unlawful organisation, styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Óglaigh na hÉireann, otherwise the IRA, between the dates of April 19th and May 13th, 2015.

He also denies that he was a member of the IRA between January 18th, 2010, and May 13th, 2015.

The non-jury court on Monday listened to a recording of a conversation between Mr McGrane and Donal O'Coisdealbha which had been fitted by the Garda National Surveillance Unit after it observed that the two men had met at the pub every month since January of that year.

Phosphate fertiliser

In the recording, the accused said he had bought phosphate fertiliser in Newry and that he told O'Coisdealbha that he had ground down the fertiliser and added sugar and corn syrup.

Later in the conversation, Mr McGrane said: "We should have a strategy for England. We should have a strategy for every area."

Mr McGrane went on to say: “The cops and Sinn Féin are the same in that they do not want anybody with success, they want people put down classed as criminals, there is criminal enterprise in this and there is no support in the community, X, Y, Z, but the other side to that is that there are a section of people who do like to see successful operations. But is that enough to justify your existence?”

The court heard O’Coisdealbha say that in 2016, with the commemoration of the Easter Rising, a new generation might be introduced to the idea of republicanism.

Mr McGrane later asked: “Are we relevant in 2016?”

The trial continues.