John Downey double murder extradition hearing is adjourned

Convicted IRA man John Downey was arrested in relation to the IRA bomb which killed the two UDR soldiers in 1972. Photo: Pacemaker.
Convicted IRA man John Downey was arrested in relation to the IRA bomb which killed the two UDR soldiers in 1972. Photo: Pacemaker.

The extradition hearing for a Co Donegal man wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the murder of two soldiers in 1972 has been adjourned.

The application for adjournment was made by John Downey’s lawyer in Dublin’s Criminal Courts of Justice on Friday morning.

Downey’s barrister Tony McGillicuddy asked the court for an adjournment to provide time to secure documents relating to legal proceedings in London in 2013 and 2014 that related to Downey’s charges over the 1982 Hyde Park bomb.

Justice Aileen Donnelly adjourned the extradition hearing until January 28 at 11:30am.

A Co Donegal man wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the August 1972 murder of two soldiers is to face an extradition hearing in Dublin later on Friday.

Mr Downey, 66, whose trial for the IRA’s Hyde Park bombing collapsed in controversy four years ago, was detained on an unrelated matter in Ireland this month on a European Arrest Warrant.

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service initiated extradition proceedings after determining it had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murders of Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston, 32, and Private James Eames, 33, in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh.

The two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers died when an IRA bomb exploded in a car they were checking on Irvinestown Road, Cherrymount.

In 2013, Downey was charged with murdering four Royal Household Cavalrymen in an IRA bomb in London’s Hyde Park in 1982.

He stood trial at the Old Bailey, but the case dramatically collapsed after it was revealed he had received a written assurance from former prime minister Tony Blair’s government that he was not actively wanted by the authorities under the On The Runs (OTRs) scheme.

The episode sparked a government inquiry into the peace process scheme which prompted a backlash from unionists.

Downey has always denied any involvement in the Hyde Park attack.

His defence barrister Tony McGillicuddy told a previous hearing on the extradition matter in the Irish courts that Downey has had “a commitment of working in a positive manner in the Irish peace process since the early 1990s”.