French authorities lodge formal extradition request for Ian Bailey almost 23 years after West Cork murder

French authorities lodge formal extradition request for Ian Bailey almost 23 years after West Cork murder
Ian Bailey in West Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

THE Minister for Justice has received a formal request from French authorities for the extradition of Ian Bailey in connection with the murder of a 39-year-old French film producer in Cork in 1996.

Mr Bailey is currently the subject of a European Arrest Warrant as a result of a conviction in a French court for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The Echo understands that the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, has now received a formal request for Mr Bailey’s extradition.

An application is now expected to be made to the High Court for a warrant to be issued here.

Mr Bailey was arrested twice as part of the garda investigation into the 1996 murder in Goleen, Co Cork, but has never been charged in Ireland. However, a French court convicted him of the murder, in his absence, last May.

Mr Bailey has always argued his innocence and described the French conviction as a showcase and a “dreadful miscarriage of justice.”

Murdered French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier
Murdered French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Mr Bailey’s fight to prevent a French trial was rejected in France’s Supreme Court last year.

Investigators came to Ireland a number of times to question people who were witnesses in the original Garda investigation.

The case has gone through several twists and turns since the murder.

In 2005, a woman originally thought to be a key witness, Marie Farrell, withdrew her statements that she had seen Mr Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge, near the murder scene.

She said gardaí had pressured her into making the statements.

After she withdrew the statements implicating Mr Bailey, a Garda team was set up to investigate the circumstances under which they were withdrawn.

Speaking to The Echo earlier this month, Mr Bailey said the European Arrest Warrant meant he lived in constant fear of a knock on the door.

“I have lived with this for 24 years now and live with it every day.

“There is a constant threat that I feel hanging over me.”

The Department of Justice said it cannot comment on individual cases.

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