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Saturday 10 December 2016

Man pleads guilty to having pipe bombs just days before visit of Charles and Camilla

O’Coisdealbha is to be sentenced for IRA membership
O’Coisdealbha is to be sentenced for IRA membership

A man has admitted to possession of explosives just days before the visit of Prince Charles to Ireland last year.

John Burke (29), from St Mary's, Singland Cross, Limerick, pleaded guilty to the charge at Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court and was further remanded in custody until he is sentenced next year.

Burke, who is understood to be a drug addict, has been in custody since he was arrested with a suspected Continuity IRA member on the morning of May 13 last year, after their car was stopped at a garda traffic checkpoint at Glenfarne, Co Leitrim, on the N16 road.

Local traffic corps gardai seized two "viable and well-made" pipe bombs in the operation, as well as a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition.

Burke was originally charged with possession of the firearm as well as explosives but the gun charges have since been dropped.

Targeted

The bust happened at a time when gardai were on red alert because of fears the visit of the prince and his wife, Camilla, would be targeted by terrorists, the court heard.

Separately, on the day of the Co Leitrim arrests, gardai carried out 20 searches and arrested four suspected members of the Real IRA, including Maynooth University employee Donal O'Coisdealbha, from Killester, who is due to be sentenced for IRA membership next week.

Sources say that gardai are satisfied that Burke is not a dissident republican and that is why he was not dealt with in the Special Criminal Court.

A 23-year-old man who was arrested with Burke is due to go on trial at a later date in the Special Criminal Court and has been out on bail since July 2015.

Dylan Cahill, of Lower Irishtown, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army on May 13, 2015.

Mr Cahill was also charged with possession of a .380 calibre Colt semi-automatic pistol and with possession of four rounds of .380 calibre ammunition, in circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable inference that he had not got the items in his possession for a lawful purpose.

He was also charged with possession of two pipe bombs.

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