DONEGAL Independent Councillor Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig (above) has called for the immediate release of John Downey following his arrest last night.
The 66-year-old was taken into custody over the murders in 1972 of two UDR soldiers in Enniskillen. He is expected to appear before Dublin High Court this afternoon before being extradited to Northern Ireland.
Councillor Micheal Mac Giolla Easbuig has questioned the motive behind John Downey’s arrest however. He says the pensioner, who has been residing for several years near Creeslough, should be released immediately.
“As an elected representative in County Donegal I want to express the anger I, and many others I have spoken to, feel over the arrest of local man John Downey.
“John Downey had been arrested by An Garda Siochana at the behest of the PSNI. It has been reported in the media that this was a joint operation with the PSNI. What exactly does this mean? Were members of the PSNI present when John Downey was arrested?
“Moreover, having failed to convict John Downey four years ago, this now smacks of the British seeking revenge. Why, therefore, is the State colluding with this vindictive action?
“Why indeed, is the Dublin government and its minister for justice Charlie Flanagan even prepared to consider extraditing a citizen of this state to face trial in a Diplock court based on so-called ‘evidence’ collected 46 years ago by the RUC?
“Is this how the new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris believes that he can accomplish what he sees as the main task facing him, to build up confidence in the force?
“These are just a few of the questions I shall be putting to junior minister David Stanton when he visits Donegal later this week and also I’ll be asking Minister Joe McHugh why is this happing in Donegal. Indeed, these questions should be raised, and answers demanded, by every public representative in this state.
“John Downey should be released immediately,” Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig added.