A man has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison after he made bomb threats during The Queen’s visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011.
66-year-old Donal Billings called Irish police in May 2011 saying that there was a bomb on a bus in Maynooth. On the bus, police discovered a bomb, gunpowder, petrol, a timing-power unit, battery and a fuse.
31 people on board the bus when it was stopped by Irish gardai at Maynooth, and the bomb was soon discovered.
Billings, of St Bridget’s Court, Drumlish, was convicted at the Special Criminal Court of possessing explosives.
He also made a series of bomb hoaxes, threatening to blow up Dublin Castle during the Her Majesty’s historic visit to the country, saying “this one is for the Queen”.
He said that he would detonate the bomb at dinner. After extensive searches, no suspicious items were found in the vicinity of the hoaxes.
The Queen was undertaking a banquet with Prince Philip, Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin at the time.
In the call to police he said: “I’m a member of the Republican Brotherhood, Squad A. Two mortars are set for Dublin Castle at 8pm. This is for the Queen of blood and war of Iraq.”
Detective Inspector Patrick Finlay said: “You had an individual who was capable and intent on causing disruption to a state visit.
“The investigation itself shows the An Garda Siochana is carrying out inquiries behind the scenes that the public are unaware of and this particular individual we monitored and obtained evidence so we could bring him before the courts and prosecute.”
A spokesman for the Irish Garda said: “This investigation highlights the continuing significant challenges faced by An Garda Siochana in the context of monitoring and bringing to justice persons who have the capability and intent of disrupting particular events and being reckless as to the potential lethal consequences of the use of improvised explosive devices,” he said.
“The gardai would like to thank all the members of the public who assisted and co-operated with the security measures that were in place at the time of the Queen’s visit.”