IRA dissidents remain a serious threat with lethal intentions, Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said today.
Dissident republicans have reportedly met former leading members of the Provisional IRA, MPs heard, as Ms Villiers warned terrorists in Northern Ireland were still capable of violent attacks.
Her comments came in response to a question in the House of Commons from the DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds.
The MP for Belfast North asked her what meetings she had held with the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s chief constable Matt Baggott and the Sinn Fein leadership about the alleged meetings between the dissident terrorists and former members of the Provisional IRA.
He said: “You will be aware of reports that leading members of the Provisional IRA, who were previously involved in a campaign of violence in Northern Ireland, are now working with dissident groups in Northern Ireland and joining with them to provide expertise.
“What discussions have you had with the chief constable about this matter and have you raised it with Sinn Fein to ask them what they know about these people and their involvement in dissident violence?”
Ms Villiers replied: “Certainly I discuss very regularly with the chief constable the very serious threat posed by dissident republicans. I will continue to do so.
“The UK Government is vigilant in combating a threat from dissident republican terrorists. They are small in number but they have lethal intent and unfortunately they also have capabilities as well.”