Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Minister's pledge over dissidents

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson

The Government is "determined to bear down" on the threat posed by dissident groups in Northern Ireland in the wake of the most recent bombing, the Secretary of State has said.

Addressing MPs in the Commons during Northern Ireland questions, Owen Paterson said the threat level there remained at "severe".

Labour's David Hanson paid tribute to the people who came out to protest against the bombing of the City of Culture offices in Londonderry, stating "they represent the true voice of Northern Ireland".

Mr Paterson condemned those involved in last week's bombing, stating: "It is quite extraordinary when you think how that city is coming together united behind the City of Culture coming along soon, that this tiny number of unrepresented people can do such a crazily reckless thing."

Labour's Diana Johnson asked if the security situation was worse or better than it was a year ago.

Mr Paterson responded "very significant extra resources" had been put in - £200 million over the next four years, backed also by the Executive putting in a further £45 million.

He said that in discussions with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI): "We are determined to bear down on these groups who are dangerous and we are not complacent about them."

He added: "None of us should underestimate the danger this small number of people represent to not just the police, but to people going about their everyday business."

Shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland Vernon Coaker branded the events "totally unacceptable".

He said: "People have a right to live without fear and intimidation in any community and it is welcome that these attacks have been widely condemned as the work of a very small number of people who seem determined to turn the clock back."

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