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Security Situation

Volume 563: debated on Wednesday 5 June 2013

10. What recent assessment she has made of the security situation in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. (157244)

While the threat level in Northern Ireland remains at severe, progress has been made. Excellent co-operation between the PSNI and other agencies has resulted in a number of arrests and charges over recent months.

I thank the Secretary of State for her response. She has spoken about the security issues in her interview in The Independent this morning, and she knows that when the G8 comes to County Fermanagh later this month, there will be significant security implications. In response to the question from the right hon. Member for Belfast North (Mr Dodds), she said that the vast majority of those costs would be picked up by the UK Government. Will she reassure and confirm to the House that if there are any unforeseen additional costs at the end of the process, those will be picked up by the UK Government and not left for the PSNI? [Interruption.]

Order. There are far too many noisy conversations. Ministers on the Treasury Bench can scarcely hear the questions. I remind the House that we are discussing the security situation in Northern Ireland. Some basic manners and displays of respect would, I think, be appreciated, not least in Northern Ireland.

I can confirm and reiterate that we will ensure that the PSNI is not disadvantaged in resource terms as a result of the G8 summit. We are committed to ensuring that it has the resources it needs, and that we minimise any potential burden on the Northern Ireland Executive.

The preparation for the G8 summit is going well. Around 3,600 police officers from England, Scotland and Wales are now in the course of arriving to assist with venue security and public order. G8 events inevitably come with certain security risks. We will be vigilant on the terrorist threat and we will, of course, make appropriate preparations to handle public order issues as they arise.

As well as the G8 summit, Northern Ireland will be hosting the world police and fire games in August. Can my right hon. Friend say something about the extra policing for that event and the extra training that will have to take place? Will her office be involving the Garda Siochana in the policing of those two events?

The relationship between the PSNI and An Garda Siochana is an important part of keeping both those events safe. Planning is at an advanced stage on the world police and fire games. It will not require a similar effort to the G8 in terms of mutual aid officers, but I can assure my hon. Friend that all mutual aid officers operating in Northern Ireland will have appropriate training in the special procedures and approaches used by the PSNI.

The Secretary of State recently forecast that the dissident republican threat

“is severe and…likely to continue”

for some

“years to come.”

Such a bleak assessment is totally unacceptable to my constituents. Therefore, what urgent additional security measures can be taken to defeat this republican conspiracy and rid our Province of the curse of terrorism?

We will continue to bear down on the terrorist threat. We are determined to defeat terrorism, whether domestic or international. We will be doing all we can to support the PSNI and its partner agencies in defeating these evil terrorists.