A man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a well-known dissident republican in Athy in Co Kildare two and a half years ago.

Seamus Morgan, 49, from The Hollands, Athy, Co Kildare had denied the murder of Laurence Keane but was found guilty by a jury.

Keane, 56, who was previously jailed for his involvement in a plot to bomb Aintree Racecourse in the UK on the day of the Grand National, died after he was attacked in the town.

Morgan has a previous conviction for manslaughter for killing James Hand - who was stabbed to death in a Dublin pub in 2002 - and was sentenced to eight years in jail.

The Central Criminal Court heard there was long-standing ill will between Morgan and Keane.

Keane - who was known as 'The Bomber' - was jailed for 15 years in 1998 after he was caught with a 980lb bomb about to board a ship at Dun Laoghaire harbour en route to Liverpool.

On the night of 19 July 2013 he was badly beaten around the head in a laneway between St John's Lane and the Greenhills estate in Athy. His skull was fractured in four places and he died in hospital the next day.

Three witnesses said they saw Morgan attack Keane and one said he did so with an iron bar. The victim's blood was also later found on Morgan's runners.

After deliberating for over three hours, a jury of three men and nine women today found Morgan guilty by unanimous verdict of murdering Keane.

Mr Justice Robert Eagar sentenced him to the mandatory term of life in prison.