Belfast Telegraph

'Sinn Fein activist' urges people to send Christmas cards to UDR murder accused John Downey

John Downey
John Downey
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A man who describes himself as a Sinn Fein activist has urged people to send letters and Christmas cards to alleged IRA bomber John Downey (67).

Conor Rush, from the Bogside area of Londonderry, posted on social media urging people to support Downey, who is currently being held at Maghaberry Prison after he was charged with murdering two soldiers in August 1972.

Mr Rush wrote on Twitter: "As people send postcards and letters to loved ones this Christmas please keep John Downey in your thoughts, who is currently remanded in Maghaberry."

Downey is facing prosecution for the car bomb attack which killed UDR members Alfred Johnston and James Eames in Enniskillen.

The accused, with an address in Creeslough, Co Donegal, was detained in October 2018 under a European arrest warrant.

He fought against extradition from the Republic before handing himself in to the authorities in October.

Lance Corporal Johnston and Private Eames died in an explosion on the Irvinestown Road in August 1972.

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They were carrying out checks on a car when a command wire initiated device was detonated, killing them instantly.

The bomb went off as a truck carrying 13 off-duty soldiers approached, blowing it onto its side and injuring some of the troops inside.

That lorry is believed to have been the primary target for the attack.

Downey is also charged with aiding and abetting an explosion likely to endanger life.

Sinn Fein said yesterday: "This is a campaign supported by republicans, nationalists and those concerned about human rights.

"John Downey should be at home with his family."

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