West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has visited Donegal Republican John Downey in Belmarsh Prison.

Downey (61) was charged wtih the 1982 IRA attack on the Queen’s cavalry in Hyde Park, London. The nail-bombing at the tourist attraction killed four police officers and seven horses.

Following a visit with Donegal Republican John Downey in Belmarsh Prison this morning Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty said,

“I visited John Downey in Belmarsh this morning and assured him of Sinn Féin’s solidarity and support. I also met with John’s solicitor Gareth Pierce and am meeting with the Irish Embassy this afternoon to raise his case with them.

“John was very relaxed and in good spirits despite the situation in which he has been placed through the latest instance of broken British commitments.

“I assured John that Sinn Féin will pursue every avenue available to us to hold the British government to its commitments and secure his release.

“John Downey is a member of Sinn Féin and a long-time supporter of the Peace Process. The decision to arrest and charge him in relation to IRA activities in the early 1980s is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful and is a source of anger within the Republican community.

“As part of the Weston Park negotiation the British Government committed to resolving the position of on the runs (OTRs). John Downey received a letter from the NIO in 2007 stating that he was not wanted by the PSNI or any British Police Force. Despite travelling to England on many occasions now six years on he finds himself before the courts on these historic charges.

“This development represents bad faith and a departure from what was previously agreed by both governments. I will be raising these issues with the Irish Embassy this afternoon.

“John Downey needs to be released and allowed to return home to his family.”