A KILRUSH man has emerged at the centre of a diplomatic row which has seen the Republican movement in Ireland accuse the British government of violating the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.
Sixty-one-year-old John Downey, who is originally from St Patrick’s Terrace in Kilrush, was arrested in Gatwick Airport on May 23 last and charged with four counts of murder and conspiring to cause an explosion in the infamous Hyde Park bombings of 1982.
In the attack four members of the Household Cavalry – Roy John Bright, Dennis Richard Anthony Daly, Simon Andrew Tipper and Geoffrey Vernon Young – were killed in the IRA attack.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly has said the decision to arrest and charge the Kilrush man “is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful. It will cause anger within the Republican community.
“This development represents bad faith and a departure from what was previously agreed by both governments,” he added.
Now the case has been taken up by the local Sinn Féin organization in Clare, with party spokesperson Anne Hayes describing it as “an attack on the peace process”.
She also said, “Republicans have been asked many times to say the war is over and we have acknowledged that fact.
“When are the British going to say their war is over? We are now 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement and 31 years on from the Hyde Park bomb.
“We negotiated a deal for those thought to be wanted by the British and in 2007 John received a letter assuring him that he was no longer wanted by any British police force. He has since travelled to England several times.
“We have been concerned at the attitude of the Tory government in London for quite some time now. Sinn Féin have lived up to any commitments we have given but the British have not. However, none of us saw such a blatant breach of agreements coming. Vindictive actions like this have no place in a peace process,” she added.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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