IRA Hyde Park bombing suspect John Downey cancels homecoming party

It was not meant to insult bereaved families, he said

A party to mark the release of the man suspected of the IRA Hyde Park bombing has been cancelled.

The case against John Downey, 62, collapsed in London last week because he had previously been assured by Northern Irish police he would not be prosecuted.

A "homecoming" party had been planned at a pub in north Donegal on Saturday after he was again released but Mr Downey called it off over concerns it would become a media circus.

The former oyster farmer said it was intended as a simple get together of family, friends and neighbours who supported him after his arrest.

“Some elements of the media are portraying the event planned for tonight as triumphalist and insulting to bereaved families. That was never what it was about,” he said.

The Sinn Fein member has always denied planting the explosive that killed four soldiers in 1982 and badly injured other members of the regiment and members of public in the park.

The flag-draped coffin carrying Lt Anthony Daly, the Blues and Royals officer killed in the Hyde Park bombing The flag-draped coffin carrying Lt Anthony Daly, the Blues and Royals officer killed in the Hyde Park bombing The collapse of his trial for the IRA attack sparked near chaos in Downing Street and Northern Ireland's devolved government.

A judge ruled he could not stand trial as he had been given assurances by the Police Service of Northern Ireland he was not wanted for questioning or prosecution in the United Kingdom, despite the Metropolitan Police holding a warrant for his arrest.

The case saw the release of details a deal the last Labour government struck with Sinn Fein that saw more than 180 individuals issued with letters making clear they could return to the UK because the authorities were not seeking them.

The government has been challenged to immediately stop consideration of five active cases involving on-the-run IRA terror suspects.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Read more:
John Downey profile: A ‘supporter of the peace process’ – and convicted IRA member
IRA Hyde Park bombing suspect walks free after 'catastrophic' police error
Northern Ireland: First Minister Peter Robinson threatens to quit over Hyde Park bombing case
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate