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'83 IRA Plot to Kill Royals Revealed

December 27, 1996|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — The Irish Republican Army plotted in 1983 to kill Prince Charles and Princess Diana at a rock concert in London, but the attack was foiled because the would-be assassin was also an informant for Irish police and British intelligence, the New York Times reported today.

The newspaper identifies the turncoat guerrilla as Sean O'Callaghan, 42, who is serving multiple life sentences for two homicides and 40 other admitted acts of terrorism.

O'Callaghan joined the IRA as a teenager and turned informant about a decade later after growing disillusioned about the bloodthirstiness of some of his comrades. O'Callaghan rose through the IRA's ranks, and in 1982 he was put in charge of a proposed assassination of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the paper says.

He found out that the royal couple would attend a rock concert on July 20, 1983, and arranged for shipments of explosives and detonators which would be planted in a restroom near the royal box, according to the New York Times.

He told Irish police of the plot, and Scotland Yard in turn leaked a story to London newspapers that they were after O'Callaghan concerning a plot to assassinate members of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government. He managed to leave the country before the stories were published, preserving his cover and preventing the attack on Charles and Diana.

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