ON the surface, it is the unlikeliest of friendships.
'Guardian' writer Roy Greenslade was one of four people who stood surety for IRA bomb suspect John Downey.
The information emerged during the failed prosecution of Downey at the Old Bailey in London.
Mr Greenslade, a journalism professor at London's City University, was said to own a home near Downey's in Donegal. He also got his oysters from Downey's farm, the court heard.
Mr Greenslade's long career took in stints at 'The Sun' and 'The Sunday Times'. He served as editor of the 'Daily Mirror' and now writes on media issues for the 'Guardian'.
He also has connections with Sinn Fein.
In 2011, he spoke at a conference in London marking the 30th anniversary of the IRA hunger strikes and wrote an article about it for 'An Phoblacht'.
In its coverage of the event, the republican newspaper noted: "Journalist Roy Greenslade spoke about the British media distortion about the hunger strike at the time."
Mr Greenslade is said to be a close friend of former Sinn Fein vice president Pat Doherty.
Writing in 2012, historian and commentator Ruth Dudley Edwards said there were many interesting examples of his affection for Sinn Fein.
"In 1998, for instance, 'An Phoblacht' was ecstatic about his Damien Walsh Memorial Lecture in West Belfast. Walsh, a teenager, had been a victim of a loyalist sectarian murder," she wrote. She said Mr Greenslade's thesis was that, in media coverage of Northern Ireland, "there is a five-rung 'hierarchy of death' which gives most attention to British victims of republican violence and least to victims of loyalist violence".
Last June, he was in the line-up to speak at Sinn Fein's summer school in Co Cork, discussing the topic of media ownership. He is married to journalist Noreen Taylor, who is the mother of well-known actress Natascha McElhone.
Efforts to contact Mr Greenslade were unsuccessful.