06/03/2009

MI5 Work In NI 'Still Considerable'

Around 15% of MI5 resources were deployed in Northern Ireland last year, a parliamentary group has said.

While the Secret Intelligence Service is devoting considerable resources to NI, according to a report from the Parliamentary committee, this is down on the previous year.

The intelligence service's operational capacity expended in NI is two per cent less than the previous year, but 15% of data gathering is still focused on "Irish-related terrorism".

According to the Intelligence & Security Committee Report, the growing threat from dissident republicans extends to the entire UK.

However, the committee has recognised that loyalist factions continue to peddle in criminality, which is under observation.
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In recent days MI5 (its London HQ is pictured) has raised the threat level posed by dissidents in NI from "substantial" to "severe", which could suggest an attack is imminent.

The level had remained "substantial" for a number of years, with a rise in attacks on police and the planting of viable bombs across the province.

It is believed dissident republicans are becoming better organised, despite the lack of a central command structure.

Intelligence has also pointed to the use of more sophisticated and technically advanced weaponry by the terrorists.

In recent months the police have managed to foil a number of plots orchestrated by dissidents, which had the potential to cause a huge loss of life.

However, security chiefs are convinced the terrorists are becoming increasing intent on carnage.

(PR/BMcC)

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