*Violet-Anne Wynne. Photograph: John Mangan
Newly elected Clare TD, Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) has stood by her remarks supporting the release of alleged IRA bomber John Downey on bail over a month ago.
Donegal native John Downey was in December 2019 named as an “active participant” in the 1982 IRA bombings in London’s Hyde Park that killed four people and injured 31 others.
On July 20, 1982, a car bomb left in South Carriage Drive ultimately killed four soldiers as they paraded from their barracks to Buckingham Palace. Lieutenant Dennis Daly, 23, and Trooper Simon Tipper, 19, died at the scene, while Squadron Quartermaster Corporal Roy Bright, 36, and Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young, 19, died within days after the attack. Seven horses had to be put down subsequently.
Downey was originally charged in 2013 for his involvement with the incident, but the case fell apart the following year when it was revealed that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) had issued Downey a letter in 2007 as part of the ‘On The Run Scheme’ that assured Downey he would not be prosecuted. The letter was issued in error, but the judge at the time said the case could not proceed. This prompted Sarah-Jane Young, daughter of Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young to bring civil action against the sixty seven year old.
Speaking on December 18th in London, presiding Justice Yip stated, “This was a deliberate, carefully planned attack on members of the military. I have found that the defendant was an active participant in the concerted plan to detonate the bomb, with the intent to kill or at least to cause serious harm to members of the Household Cavalry.”
Two days later, bail was granted for Downey by Mr Justice McAlinden who confirmed that a £225,000 cash surety was to be lodged before he is released. Mr Downey is to live at a Belfast property under curfew and is banned from leaving Northern Ireland. He must also surrender any passports and report regularly to police as part of the conditions.
In a tweet on December 20th, Violet-Anne Wynne posted, “John Downey out on bail, about time too. Enjoy your Christmas comrade”. Elected off the back of 8,987 first preference votes in the General Election, the Kilrush woman stood by her comments when contacted by The Clare Echo.
“John Downey has been a supporter of the peace process over many years. I welcomed the fact that he got bail after numerous attempts in December because he is 67 and in ill health. He should be at home with his family in Donegal, not facing trial for charges that he have been dealt with in the courts previously,” Wynne stated.