Belfast Telegraph

Terrorist threat level 'severe'

The terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland "remains severe", Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has said.

Mr Paterson told MPs in the Commons there was "absolutely no place for organised crime or violence in Northern Ireland" and appealed to everybody to work closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and to pursue whatever aims they had by peaceful democratic means.

He stressed there was a determination to "bear down" on the "small numbers of groups who do not accept the current settlement".

Tory Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, said violent activity was still being undertaken by loyalist organisations and asked what methods were being taken to address this.

Mr Paterson said: "The threat remains severe, tackling terrorism in all its forms and within the rule of law remains the highest priority for this Government.

"We will continue to work as closely as possible with our strategic partners in the PSNI, Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government to counter this threat."

Mr Paterson said: "Northern Ireland-related terrorism in GB (Great Britain) is graded substantial", adding that he was working closely with the Home Secretary and the Justice Minister in Northern Ireland "to ensure that there should be no threat to a peaceful and successful Olympics".

The DUP's Gregory Campbell raised the issue of "a murder in Londonderry in recent weeks and also the continuing targeting by dissident republicans of a number of people not just in the border area but across Northern Ireland". He asked if the necessary resources were in place to deal with "this escalating problem".

Mr Paterson branded the murder "disgusting and deplorable", adding that a special package of £200 million had previously been agreed.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker said: "We will stand with him in tackling any threat to security in Northern Ireland. Obviously, in tackling terrorism, resources for the police and security services are paramount."

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