Campaigners who are suing John Downey over his alleged role in the Hyde Park bombing believe that their ongoing pressure has reminded the authorities that ‘justice must be done’.
Speaking about Downey’s arrest in connection with the bomb which killed UDR men James Eames and Alfred Johnston in Fermanagh in 1972, Mark Tipper of the Hyde Park Justice Campaign said: “We are pleased to see that the judicial process is finally shining a light on these UDR murders and on the long-standing allegations surrounding Mr Downey. Our own campaign for truth regarding the Hyde Park atrocity has reminded the authorities as to their responsibilities - justice must be done.”
Squadron Quartermaster Corporal Roy Bright, 36, Lieutenant Dennis Daly, 23, Trooper Simon Tipper, 19, and Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young, 19, were killed by an IRA car bomb as they rode through the central London park in 1982.
Convicted IRA member Mr Downey - who has always denied any involvement in the attack - was charged four years ago with the murders, but the prosecution collapsed as he had an On-The-Run comfort letter.
However relatives of the four Cavalrymen then launched a civil action against Downey for damages.
Mr Tipper said the Hyde Park Justice campaign was focused on those responsible for that atrocity: “The people who think they can break the law and Tony Blair, who thinks he can offer OTR letters to suspected terrorists”.
It is understood that if Downey is extradited from the south and prosecuted for the Fermanagh murders, this will not prevent the Hyde Park civil proceedings from advancing and that the case will to go to trial next October as ordered and scheduled by the High Court last week.
House of Commons figures show that the Republic refused to extradite 93 per cent of people wanted for terrorist offences in the UK in the 25 years from 1973-97. In the same period, 42pc of requests for non-terrorist offences were granted.