Downey, from Creeslough in Co Donegal and whose trial for the IRA’s Hyde Park bombing collapsed in controversy five years ago, is wanted by prosecutors in Northern Ireland over the murders of two Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers in 1972
The 67-year-old handed himself in this afternoon, after he lost an appeal to challenge the extradition in July this year.
A Garda spokesman confirmed: “An Garda Siochana arrested a male in his sixties earlier today 11 October 2019.
“This male has been extradited to Northern Ireland in accordance with an EAW (European Arrest Warrant) issued by the PSNI.”
He will appear at Omagh Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, October 12, for a first remand hearing.
Downey was arrested at his home in Donegal in October last year under a European Arrest Warrant after authorities in Northern Ireland determined they had sufficient evidence to charge him with the murders of Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston, 32, and Private James Eames, 33.
The soldiers died in a car bomb attack in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, in August 1972.
A police spokesperson said tonight: “The PSNI has been liaising closely with An Garda Siochana and today’s arrest demonstrates the benefits of joint working between police forces and other national partner agencies.
“Lance Corporal Alfred Johnston – a father of four – and Private James Eames – a father of three – died when a device exploded in a car they were checking on the Irvinestown Road, Cherrymount, Enniskillen in 1972.
“The PSNI investigation into these murders remains active.”
In 2013, Downey was charged with murdering four Royal Household Cavalrymen in a bomb attack in London’s Hyde Park in 1982.
He was tried at the Old Bailey in 2014 but the case dramatically collapsed after it was revealed he had received a written assurance from former prime minister Tony Blair’s government that he was not actively wanted by the authorities.
The letter was allegedly issued under the terms of the controversial On The Runs (OTRs) scheme.
Sinn Fein have condemned the latest prosecution against Downey, branding the extradition as “vindictive”.
Pearse Doherty TD said in a statement: ““The allegations against John Downey have already been dealt with and the British Government publicly stated that he is not wanted in connection with any offence.
“That assertion was tested in the courts and he was subsequently released. That judgement should be respected by the British authorities.
“The extradition request from the British Authorities is vindictive and bad faith and is an attempt to overturn due process
“It follows a campaign to introduce an amnesty for British soldiers at a time when the spotlight is on them for their actions.
“John Downey is a supporter of the peace process over many years and to his extradition is vindictive and an act of bad faith.
“He has worked to promote peace and reconciliation between the people of this island, meeting with members of Loyalism and Unionism and trying to put the past behind us and move into the future in peace together.
“John Downey should be at home tonight with his family in Donegal.
“The British authorities through their own courts were ordered to release John after they were found guilty of a breach of process when he was previously arrested and detained a number of years ago.
“I have no doubt that the same will happen again.”