Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents 'targeting mainland for attack'

BY STAFF REPORTER

The discovery of photographs of a police station in England by police investigating dissident terrorism suggests the republican threat to the mainland is not over, the DUP has said.

Two people arrested during the June operation have since been charged with possession of explosives and other terrorist offences.

The images found by police appear to show the targeting of a police headquarters in the north of England.

The incident was referred to by DUP MP Jim Shannon during yesterday's Northern Ireland Grand Committee meeting at Stormont. He said the case suggested more police officers were needed.

"It appears to be that dissident republicans are planning something on the mainland," the Strangford MP said.

Mr Shannon had been questioning Secretary of State Theresa Villiers on what steps she was taking to address Police Federation concerns about manpower.

Ms Villiers said she had discussed the matter with Chief Constable Matt Baggott and the Police Federation and took their concerns very seriously.

Meanwhile, Ms Villiers has been slammed by Labour for not getting involved in the forthcoming Haass talks.

US diplomat Richard Haass will lead talks with the parties in Northern Ireland on how to deal with deeply divisive issues such as parades, flags and the legacy of the past.

The Irish government has indicated that it is willing to become involved.

Yesterday, Shadow Secretary of State Vernon Coaker MP told the Grand Committee that the UK Government should be part of the negotiations.

"The Secretary of State needs to meet her responsibilities and get involved," the Labour MP said.

"The Haass talks offer an opportunity to make progress on very difficult and sensitive issues. The Westminster government should be fully involved," he said.

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