Saturday 21 September 2019

Former IRA man facing charges related to 1972 killing appears in High Court on extradition warrant

Former IRA man John Downey was arrested by Garda in Donegal on Monday
Former IRA man John Downey was arrested by Garda in Donegal on Monday

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A Donegal man facing charges in relation to the killing of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in Enniskillen in 1972, has been brought before the High Court on an extradition warrant.

Northern Irish authorities are seeking the surrender of John Downey (66) to face charges in relation to a 1972 bombing in Enniskillen which killed two British Army Infantrymen.

Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston and Private James Eames were killed when a device exploded in a vehicle they were checking on the Irvinestown Road, Cherrymount, in 1972.

Mr Downey was arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant at his home address in Ards, Creeslough, Co Donegal on Monday and brought to the High Court on Tuesday.

The warrant was issued by Northern Irish authorities and endorsed by the High Court on Monday morning.

Det Sgt Jim Kirwan of the Garda Extradition Unit told Ronan Kennedy BL, for the State, that he arrested Mr Downey on foot of the warrant and cautioned him.

In reply, Mr Downey told the detective “I’d say it was the DUP and not the DPP” who decided to pursue the matter, Det Sgt Kirwan said.

Counsel for Mr Downey, Garnet Orange SC, said his client would be contesting the application to surrender him and was “very anxious” to secure bail.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said she was satisfied the person before her was the person to whom the warrant related.

She fixed November 23 as the date for the full hearing of the extradition case and remanded Mr Downey in custody to that date.

Ms Justice Donnelly also fixed Thursday November 8 for the hearing of a bail application.

Mr Kennedy told the court that the State was not consenting to bail but did not object to an early bail application.

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