Sinn Féin has called for the immediate release of Dongal man John Downey, arrested and charged earlier today in connection with the 1982 Hyde Park bombing.
Commenting on the arrest and decision to charge Downey in connection with an IRA bomb in London in 1982, Donegal Sinn Féin TDs Pearse Doherty and Pádraig MacLochlainn (pictured) described the arrest and charging of Downing as “vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful”.
“John Downey is a member of Donegal Sinn Féin and a long-time supporter of the Peace Process. The decision to arrest and charge him in relation to IRA activities in the early 1980s is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful. It will cause anger within the Republican community.
“Clearly if John Downey had been arrested and convicted previously he would have been released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
“As part of the Weston Park negotiation the British Government committed to resolving the position of OTRs. John Downey received a letter from the NIO in 2007 stating that he was not wanted by the PSNI or any British Police Force. Despite travelling to England on many occasions now six years on he finds himself before the courts on these historic charges.
“This development represents bad faith and a departure from what was previously agreed by both governments.
“John Downey needs to be released and allowed to return home to his family.”