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Ritchie is right about security failings of MI5

The leader of the SDLP, Margaret Ritchie, is totally correct in her analysis regarding MI5 not being up to the job of intelligence-gathering on dissident republicans.

In light of the ongoing paramilitary threats in recent months, it seems that MI5 are unable to break the ring of dissident bomb-attacks on members of the PSNI and innocent civilians.

The SDLP leader is right. There is enough community confidence for the PSNI to be given the sole role of intelligence-gathering.

There is now a responsibility on the British Home Secretary to transfer intelligence-gathering away from MI5 to the PSNI.

At present, there is no local political accountability or control whatsoever for MI5, with all political powers resting at Westminster. Therefore, MI5 is only held accountable to Westminster and not Stormont.

There is also the question of MI5 protecting their republican informers and withholding information from the PSNI.

The SDLP leader is being a realist when she said people needed to face up to the inconvenient political truths about the upsurge in violence.

PATRICK CLARKE

Dundrum, Co Down

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