IRA plot to murder Charles

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The Independent Online
A SELF-CONFESSED high-level informer in the IRA told a Dublin court how he had been sent to plan the murder of the Prince and Princess of Wales at a London theatre in 1983 and lead a bombing campaign in British seaside resorts.

Sean O'Callaghan, who described himself as a former head of the IRA's Southern Command, also recalled attending a Dublin IRA army council meeting in 1985 with senior figures in the current leadership of Sinn Fein.

O'Callaghan, 42, pleaded guilty in 1990 to the murders in 1974 of Ulster Defence Regiment soldier Eva Martin during an attack on a Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Tyrone, and special branch officer Peter Flanagan, shot in an Omagh pub. O'Callaghan served eight years in prison.

He earlier testified that he joined the Provisionals in 1970 at the age of 15, operating in Tyrone then Fermanagh, but resigned in 1975, living in England until 1979. He then rejoined in 1979 as a garda informer intent on undermining the organisation. He has cited blatant sectarianism in IRA ranks as the reason for his about-turn.

He was testifying for the Sunday Times in its appeal against a libel award to a County Louth farmer, Thomas "Slab" Murphy. In 1985 the newspaper described Murphy as IRA director of operations in Northern Ireland.

O'Callaghan was also to plan a seaside resort bombing campaign. He said that it was through his leaking details to authorities that the planned royal assassinations at the Dominion Theatre in London was aborted. The seaside bombs failed to explode.