Man jailed eight years for placing bomb on bus ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s visit

Donal Billings was also convicted of making false bomb threats

Man jailed eight years for placing bomb on bus ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s visit

Queen Elizabeth II inspecting a guard of honour before departing from Cork Airport in 2011 | Image: RollingNews.ie/GIS

A 65-year-old man has been jailed for eight and a half years for putting a bomb on a bus ahead of a visit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland in 2011.

Donal Billings of St Bridget's Court in Drumlish, Co. Longford was also convicted of making false bomb threats during her trip.

On the day before Queen Elizabeth's arrival, gardaí received a call warning that a bomb had been planted on the Ballina to Dublin bus.

It was intercepted in Maynooth and an improvised device, with a firework as a detonator and some flammable liquid, was found on board.

Further calls claiming Dublin Castle and Cork Airport were being targeted were found to be hoaxes.

In arriving at that eight and a half year sentence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt described the placing of a bomb on a Dublin-bound bus full of passengers and an innocent driver as an "outrageous and highly dangerous act".

He also handed down concurrent sentences for the hoax calls.

Afterwards, Detective Inspector Pat Finlay praised all those involved in bringing him to justice.

"The investigation itself shows that An Garda Síochána is carrying out inquires behind the scenes that the public are unaware of.

"This particular individual we monitored and obtained evidence, so that we could bring him before the courts and prosecute him", he added.