Real IRA founder, Seamus McGrane, has been found guilty of plotting to bomb Britain’s Prince Charles on his visit to Ireland in 2015.
Dublin's Special Criminal Court heard that the 63-year-old Louth man had hoped to kill the Prince on his visit to Mullaghmore, County Sligo where his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, and teenage cousin, Nicholas, had been killed by Provisional IRA bomb in 1979.
Gardaí (Irish police) had bugged the Dublin bar, The Coachman’s Inn, early in 2015 and on two separate occasions listened in to McGrane tell another IRA man, Donal Ó Coisdealbha, who to meet and where to obtain materials that could make a bomb.
McGrane boasted to Ó Coisdealbha that the target had “military significance” and was to arrive on the 19th – the same day the Prince’s visit was scheduled.
Real IRA boss plotted to blow up Charles and Camilla during royal visit to Ireland in 2015 https://t.co/i4WqhHGiql— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) November 1, 2017
The gardaí followed up on the pair’s whispered plotting and raided McGrane’s Wexford home and land connected to him in County Louth. The judge described what they found there as “a veritable arsenal of weapons and explosives.”
McGrane was part of a hard-line splinter group of republicans that walked out of the Provisional IRA in 1997 after the group committed itself to peacefully reuniting Ireland. They formed the Real IRA and never reconciled themselves to the peace process on the grounds that it meant accepting that Northern Ireland would continue to be a part of the United Kingdom indefinitely.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy convicted McGrane of being a member of the IRA between January 18, 2010 and May 13, 2015, in addition to the crime of directing the activities of a banned terrorist organization between April 19 and May 13, 2015. He had pleaded 'not guilty' to both charges.
McGrane was remanded in custody until his sentencing in two weeks and Ó Coisdealbha, who followed through on McGrane’s instructions, was sentenced to five and a half years behind bars last December.
Despite the pair’s best efforts the visit of Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, went off without a hitch. It was the first time the Prince had visited the place where his family had died and it proved to be an emotional day.
Lord Mountbatten spent most summers in Sligo but with 'the Troubles' raging it was deemed unsafe for a prominent member of the Royal Family to venture into the Republic of Ireland.
"I do wish I could come and see it… I know I would be captivated by it", Charles once wrote to the man he called “the grandfather I never had.”
Some four decades later, with the political landscape of Ireland transformed, Charles finally got his wish.
“It’s been a long time,” the Prince murmured when he arrived in the small village on the Sligo coast.
“I never thought it would happen.”
Another small piece of the jigsaw of reconciliation had been put in place.