Belfast Telegraph

‘Toughen laws’ over terrorist moneymen

By Sam Lister

Tougher penalties must be doled out to offenders convicted of financing dissident terrorism, the DUP's business spokesman has told the Government.

David Simpson said the seven- year maximum tariff was “wholly unsatisfactory” for punishing criminals who had “aided and abetted” murder by providing the cash to fund terrorist activities.

The Upper Bann MP urged ministers to look at the devastation caused by dissidents in the current campaign of attacks.

“Let us consider for a moment what kind of terrorist threat we are dealing with,” he said.

“There is the ongoing threat from dissident republican groups not only in Northern Ireland and in the Republic, but across the whole United Kingdom.

“In recent days these groups have attempted to kill police officers with grenades. In my own constituency they planted a bomb which very nearly killed young children.

“Again in my constituency, they succeeded in murdering Constable Stephen Carroll. In South Antrim they murdered two soldiers in Massereene barracks.

“Those who assist them economically, those who provide the economic and financial muscle to allow them to obtain their arsenal of murder, are complicit in those murders.”

He added: “The tariff should be considerably higher.”

The Government is pushing through legislation that it hopes will stop terror attacks in the early stages by choking off the funding.

Under the proposals, suspects who the Treasury “reasonably believe” to be behind terrorist plots can have their assets frozen.

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