Prince Charles and Camilla

Real IRA founder who plotted bombing while Prince Charles was in Ireland dies in prison

A real IRA founder who was jailed for planning a bombing while Prince Charle’s was in Ireland in 2015 has passed away in prison from a suspected heart attack.

In 2017, he was found guilty of directing terrorism, and at the time of death, he was serving an 11-and-half-year prison sentence.

Seamus McGrane, who was also convicted of being an IRA member, is only the second person to be convicted of directing terrorism in the Republic of Ireland. The presiding judge upon sentencing, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, described it as “a most serious offence”.

In the run-up to Prince Charle’s visit to Ireland, McGrane had discussed an operation involving explosives. The Irish Garda managed to record McGrane talking about “military operation” of significance and referred to a person “coming on the 19th”, where “the main attack” would take place. Prince Charles arrived in Ireland on the 19th.

The trial heard from secretly recorded conversations that took place in April and May 2015; the weeks leading up to the historic royal visit.

The trial to convict McGrane heard that the target of the attack was to be the Cross of Sacrifice, a monument in Dublin commemorating the British and Irish soldiers who fought in World War One.

McGrane was arrested six days before the planned attack. Searches carried out at his house and land that was linked to him found explosives, ammunition, and mortars, which the judge described as being a “veritable arsenal of weapons and explosives.”

During Prince Charles’s visit, he visited the spot in County Sligo where the IRA murdered his great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten.

The visit was historic as it was the first time a meeting was held in the Republic of Ireland between the Sinn Féin leadership and a member of the British Royal Family.

The Irish Prison Service reported that his death was not suspicious. A spokesperson said, “As with all deaths in custody the Prison Service, the Inspector of Prisons and An Garda Síochána will be investigating the incident.”