Paisley: Dissidents being squeezed by security services

Ian Paisley urged the Government to keep up the pressure on dissidents
Ian Paisley urged the Government to keep up the pressure on dissidents

Dissident republicans are being “squeezed and boxed in” by the forces of law and order, Ian Paisley has said following the Secretary of State’s latest security assessment.

The DUP MP for North Antrim said the falling number of national security incidents involving dissident gangs would be welcomed by all law-abiding citizens in Northern Ireland.

Theresa Villiers said there had been 16 such attacks – primarily directed against PSNI officers – in the last year and that the threat remained “severe”.

In her first assessment for nine months, Ms Villiers said both the PSNI and MI5 have “worked tirelessly to limit the threat they are able to pose”.

As well as praising the efforts of the police and security services, Ms Villiers added: “I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work of the Northern Ireland Prison Service who conduct themselves with exemplary dedication in what can be a very difficult environment.”

Welcoming the statement, Mr Paisley said his party had consistently pressed for greater investment to tackle dissident republican criminals.

“Over the course of the last five years an additional £231 million has been allocated to the PSNI to take the fight to those who would seek to drag our Province backwards into the dark old days.

“A further £200 million has also been secured as a result of the recent Fresh Start agreement and there is now a route map in place to put paramilitaries out of business.”

Mr Paisley added: “There can be no let up in the battle against dissident republicans and I urge the Government to continue this wise investment in protecting the people of the United Kingdom from these criminals.”