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Safety of EU inspectors not raised despite Paisley concerns, says PSNI


Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley

Ian Paisley

The PSNI said on Friday night the safety of EU officials in Northern Ireland after January 1 had not been discussed during a series of meetings it has held with political and community representatives across Northern Ireland.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark McEwan was responding after DUP MP Ian Paisley voiced concerns about potential threats to EU inspectors here during a meeting of the influential NI Affairs Committee.

ACC McEwan said the PSNI had been engaging with politicians and others about Brexit activity, but the issue of threats against inspectors had not been raised.

In a statement, Mr McEwan said: "As part of our ongoing engagement work, I and a number of my officers who are involved in EU Exit activity have been talking with political and community representatives from across Northern Ireland.

"This matter was not raised or discussed at any of those meetings."

However, the North Antrim MP said last night that police had raised concerns with him during a meeting with his local police commander.

The PSNI also stressed in a statement: "We do not discuss the security of individuals and no inference should be drawn from this."

During the Westminster committee meeting, Mr Paisley had asked Stormont official Dr Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs if there was "a threat to" EU inspectors in Northern Ireland.

"Are you worried about any threat to their safety if there is anger expressed at the decision to have border checks within the UK territory?"

Dr McMahon said his department was working closely with Border Force, the PSNI and colleagues from other Government departments on health and safety issues.

After the SDLP urged him to inform the relevant authorities if he had "specific concerns, or any specific information" about a threat, Mr Paisley defended his actions.

"I met with the police last month about this matter and they raised the concerns with me," he said.

"On that basis, it is absolutely responsible to raise the matter indeed it would be irresponsible not to."

Belfast Telegraph