Armed dissidents 'will not succeed'
Published 06/10/2010 | 14:12
Armed groups in Northern Ireland will not be allowed to succeed, Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has vowed.
Mr Paterson told the Conservative Party Conference the Government is determined to bring Northern Ireland "back into the mainstream of UK politics" - which would involve disrupting and pursuing violent dissidents who are trying to undermine progress in the province.
He conceded there had been some "hideously difficult moral compromises" and "immensely tough decisions" during the peace process but insisted they had been the "right calls".
Mr Paterson said: "The constitutional issues are settled. Northern Ireland's position within the union is rock solid so long as that's the wish of its people.
"But there are still some dangerous armed groups out there who want to destroy what's been achieved and drag Northern Ireland back to a bloody past. And even though they have virtually no popular support, their activities have increased in recent years.
"We don't underestimate the threat they pose, but they offer nothing and we will not let them succeed - and we'll do everything in our power to pursue these criminals, to disrupt them and prevent them from achieving their aims."
Mr Paterson repeated the Government's position that there will be "no more costly and open-ended public inquiries" as he said the coalition will consult widely with victims' groups and local politicians on how to deal with Northern Ireland's "troubled past".
Meanwhile, police in Northern Ireland are to launch a major security operation against dissident republicans over the next number of days, a senior officer announced.
The planned increase in police checkpoints and patrols comes in the wake of Monday night's car bomb blast in Londonderry - the latest in a series of attacks blamed on the violent renegades this year.
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie told the monthly meeting of the NI Policing Board that the public may face disruption as a result of the operations.