A 25-year-old man was arrested during a garda operation that recovered explosive devices, improvised rockets, detonators, timing units and Semtex, six days before the visit of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to Ireland 18 months ago, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

Donal Ó Coisdealbha, from Abbeyfield, Killester in Dublin, has admitted being a member of a dissident republican organisation and is due to be sentenced at the Special Criminal Court next week.

Officers from the Special Detective Unit discovered a timing power unit and a circuit board when they searched his locker at the National University in Maynooth in May 2015.

Ó Coisdealbha was arrested as part of a garda investigation into the activities of dissident republicans in the run-up to the visit of Prince Charles to Ireland in May 2015.

He was put under audio and visual surveillance for five months and was seen meeting convicted IRA members in the Coachmans Inn near the airport and The Pint pub in Tara Street - as well as acting suspiciously at the back of Glasnevin Cemetery.

He was also seen buying clingfilm and driving to a house at Harbour Court in Wexford.

When the house was subsequently searched, four improvised rockets, a booster tube, five phones, semtex, homemade explosives, a timing power unit, a broken circuit board, a cord of cortex and two detonators were found.

Officers from the Special Detective Unit then searched his locker at NUI Maynooth.

There the court heard another timing power unit and a broken circuit board were found which fitted together with those found in Wexford.

Detective Inspector William Hanrahan told the court today it was clear from the conversations recorded, about a bike and detonators having been obtained for Ó Coisdealbha, that preparations were well advanced. The 25-year-old was told that it was his operation and they were ready to go.

Gardaí believed that the operation was to take place around 19 May 2015 when Britain's Prince Charles was visiting Ireland.

There was a reference to a timer with a 14-minute delay and the blame to be given to a different IRA organisation and this caused gardaí to move in on 13 May - six days before the visit.

The court heard that Ó Coisdealbha is a single man with no previous convictions; educated to third-level who works in biomedics and lives at home with his parents.

His defence counsel said his guilty plea was a public acknowledgement of his wrongdoing.

The maximum sentence is eight years.

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