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Dissident Republican Organisations

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

5. What his assessment is of the terrorist threat posed by dissident Irish republican organisations. (137959)

While dissident republicans remain determined to cause harm and destruction, excellent policing continues to thwart them. Dissidents will not deter us, or the new Executive, from achieving a stable and prosperous future for Northern Ireland.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Although we are glad that power sharing has returned to Northern Ireland—and many of the terrorist organisations are now disarming—there are still dissident forces, such as Continuity IRA. What measures are the Government taking to prevent, dissuade and capture those vile and murderous criminals?

The Police Service of Northern Ireland takes the lead in detecting and preventing terrorist activities by organisations such as the one that the hon. Gentleman mentioned. So far this calendar year there have been 31 incidents involving dissident republican organisations. As recently as April, a serious incident was prevented in Lurgan by the PSNI, by a timely interception of what would have been a serious mortar attack. We should all compliment the PSNI on the work that it is doing and make it clear to those involved in dissident republican organisations, and loyalist paramilitary groups, that law enforcement will continue to hunt them and bear down on them.

The Secretary of State will be aware of a number of recent arrests in the Province—those of Brian Arthurs and two of his comrades, and of Roisin McAliskey, commonly known throughout the Province as members of the Provisional IRA. Can the Minister give us some background to the situation and assure us that if a request is made by the German authorities for the extradition of Roisin McAliskey, it will be accommodated?

The last question is entirely a matter for the German authorities under the European arrest warrant system. There will be arrests from time to time. The whole thrust of my argument is that the PSNI will continue to bear down on those involved in criminality or paramilitary activity. We should all be encouraged by the fact that Sinn Fein has made it clear that people should co-operate with the police whenever such arrests take place.