Real IRA boss Michael McKevitt has failed in a court bid to declare his conviction for directing terrorism a miscarriage of justice.

McKevitt lost his case at Dublin’s Court of Criminal Appeal as he sought to overturn a 2003 ruling that made the 63-year-old the first person in Ireland to be jailed for directing terrorist activities.

The Irish Independent reports that the three-judge court, presided over by Justice John MacMenamin,  dismissed McKevitt’s action.

Justice MacMenamin said: “The court is acceding to the State’s application to strike out the matter because McKevitt’s application is unstateable and unarguable.”

McKevitt was not present in court. The report says his lawyers had argued that McKevitt’s conviction for directing terrorist activities should be set aside because a search warrant used to search his home was issued under Section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act, which the Supreme Court subsequently ruled as unconstitutional.

His lawyers also argued that evidence used against McKevitt at trial was taken while he was not legally represented.

The Irish State asked the court to dismiss the application as it was not based on any new or newly discovered fact.

McKevitt was convicted by the Special Criminal Court in August 2003 of IRA membership and of directing the activities of the IRA. He was jailed for 20 years.

In 2011, he lost an appeal against a Belfast civil court’s ruling that found him liable for the Omagh bombing atrocity.