A REAL IRA leader who plotted an explosion during Prince Charles’ state visit to Ireland two years ago has been convicted at the Special Criminal Court.
Seamus McGrane, 63, was also convicted of IRA membership – and is only the second person to be convicted of directing terrorism in the history of the Irish State.
McGrane, from Little Road, Dromiskin in Co. Louth, will be sentenced in November.
The court heard that the Irishman had discussed an operation involving explosives in the lead-up to Prince Charles’ visit in May 2015.
A Gardaí search of his home in Dromiskin and land in Co. Wexford uncovered what the judge described as “a veritable arsenal of weapons and explosives”.
McGrane pleaded not guilty but was secretly recorded by Gardaí discussing explosives and a “target” of military significance in a pub in Dublin.
The 63-year-old met fellow IRA operative Donal Ó Coisdealbha on a number of occasions in the Coachman’s Inn pub in early 2015 to plan a bomb attack during the Prince’s visit.
There he was recorded by a listening device as discussing strategy and experiments with explosives, as well as his involvement in IRA training.
He instructed Ó Coisdealbha to "reactivate the science graduate" to get advice on explosives.
He also told him to contact "motorbike man" to collect the explosives, to clean out the cylinder and return the bike – which was not to be disposed of.
McGrane further referred to someone "coming on the 19th" – the same day Prince Charles arrived in Ireland.
During that visit in 2015, Prince Charles went to Co. Sligo where his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten was murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1979.
It was the first time the Prince had visited the site at Mullaghmore Harbour.
He said the murder of his great-uncle and three others had given him a “profound understanding” of how the Troubles affected people in Ireland.
McGrane was found guilty of directing the activities of a terrorist organisation at the Special Criminal Court on Tuesday.
He will be sentenced next month.