Northern Ireland

John Downey: Double murder accused appeals NI extradition

John Downey
Image caption John Downey, 67, was arrested on suspicion of the murder of two soldiers in 1972

Judgement has been reserved in the case of a Donegal man wanted in Northern Ireland on suspicion of involvement in the murder of two soldiers.

John Downey is appealing against an order by the High Court in the Republic of Ireland to extradite him to Belfast.

NI police sought his extradition over the murder of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972.

Alfred Johnston and James Eames died in a bomb in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

Mr Downey was previously accused of the murders of four soldiers in the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing.

He had been due to stand trial for those murders in 2014, but the trial collapsed when it emerged that he received a so-called on-the-runs letter - a clear written assurance from the government that he would not be tried unless new evidence came to light.

At the appeal hearing in Dublin on Monday, his lawyer argued that the proposed trial in Belfast was "doomed to failure".

However, counsel for the Irish Minister of Justice and Equality said that there was a degree of "unreality" to the idea that such "on-the-run" letters could be relied upon.