Sentencing of Real IRA leader: Life is required

The criminal justice system must provide three things to keep us safe: Good policing, realistic judicial sentencing, and a robust prison service.

Good detection by the Garda National Surveillance Unit led to the conviction of Real IRA leader, Seamus McGrane, for planning a bomb attack during the visit of Britain’s Prince Charles in 2015. It is now up to the courts to honour that, by sentencing him to far more than the five and half years given last year to his co-conspirator, Donal Ó Coisdealbha.

The Prison Service should also reconsider the wisdom of keeping Ó Coisdealbha close to his pals, in the so-called New IRA wing of Portlaoise prison. The landing in Portlaoise is reserved for them, which risks it becoming a grooming ground for recruits.

We have had the Old IRA, the Official IRA, the Provisional IRA, and the Real IRA. We do not need a New or any other kind of IRA. Bomb-makers are murderers in the making. Give them life — which is more than they would ever give their victims.

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