Donegal man charged with murders of two soldiers in Northern Ireland

Donegal man  charged with murders of two soldiers in Northern Ireland

John Downey pictured at his home in Creeslough in 2017

A Donegal man has been remanded in custody charged with the murders of two soldiers in Northern Ireland in 1972.

John Downey appeared at Omagh Magistrates' Court earlier today, Saturday, after being extradited from the Republic last night.

RTÉ reported that the 67-year-old, whose trial for the IRA's Hyde Park bombing in 1982 collapsed in controversy five years ago, is charged with the murders of two members of the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston, 32, and 33-year-old Private James Eames were killed in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh in 1972.

RTÉ reported that that the judge refused an application for Mr Downey to be released on bail on the basis that he was a "flight risk"

In Omagh Magistrates court today, a PSNI Detective Chief Inspector objected to Mr Downey being released on bail. He said the defendant fought all the way to prevent his extradition to Northern Ireland to face trial.

A lawyer for Mr Downey told the court the father of five is in poor health and "there is nowhere this man can go to escape."

Barrister Michael Duffy told the court his client had meticulously complied with all conditions when released on bail for six months after being charged with the Hyde Park bombing.

Rejecting the application, Judge Michael Ranaghan said he accepted that "there is a risk of flight."

Mr Downey was remanded in custody to appear in court again on 25 October.

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