Belfast Telegraph

Drop in Army bomb squad call-outs disproves Brexit threat to peace process: DUP's Campbell

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has claimed a drop in the number of call outs for the Army's bomb squad in Northern Ireland demonstrates how claims Brexit would damage the peace process were "totally inaccurate and inflammatory".

The East Londonderry representative asked the Ministry of Defence for the number of call outs the Army attended between 2012 and 2018.

From July 2012 to June 2014 there were 273 call outs. From July 2014 to June 2016 there were 144 and from July 2016 to June 2018 there were 94 - with over half found to be a hoax. In the last two years the call outs in NI was lower than in GB for the first time since 2012.

Gregory Campbell said the fact the Army were out on Northern Ireland streets on fewer occasions since the June 2016 European referendum vote showed how wrong it was for former Prime Ministers to say a leave vote would put the peace process "at risk".

"This was a deliberate scare story designed to frighten people into voting Remain," he said.

“There were quite a number of predictions made about what would happen after the vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Amongst those was that claim that it could lead to a rise in violence in Northern Ireland.

"Like so many other predictions the opposite has been the case.

"Whilst it is obviously difficult to get overall figures for all aspects of violence, there has been a reduction in both the total number of incidents and in hoax calls.

"So the Army were on the streets dealing with terror incidents less in the two years since the vote to Leave than in the two years before the referendum in 2016."

At an EU summit last month Taoiseach Leo Varadkar produced a newspaper article to his EU counterparts about an IRA attack on a customs check he said to demonstrate how high the stakes were in the Brexit talks.

Mr Campbell added: "The focus needs to be on ensuring the security forces are successful in tackling the paramilitary threat from wherever it comes instead of scaremongering.

"Thankfully the facts don’t bear out any of the doom-laden predictions that have been made, but there must be no complacency as well as a united message sent out that attacks, whether many or few, can never be justified under any circumstances.

"We must ensure a sensible and managed exit from the European Union and continue with the task of building a better Northern Ireland.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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