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Security Situation

Volume 597: debated on Wednesday 24 June 2015

8. What recent discussions she has had on the security situation in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. (900432)

The threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism continues to be severe. It is potentially lethal and it is enduring. It is being suppressed through the hard work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5, but the need for a high state of vigilance remains.

I have just heard the Minister passing the buck on the cuts to the PSNI, but the situation in Northern Ireland goes on, with 171 bombings, shootings and paramilitary actions in the past year. What is the Minister doing to ensure that the PSNI has the resources it needs to meet this ongoing security situation?

The Government have provided £230 million in extra security funding for the PSNI. The primary responsibility for funding the PSNI rests with the Executive, but the Stormont House agreement contains a provision to seek to protect its budget. That is yet another reason why this welfare question must be settled; the PSNI is among other front-line services that will suffer directly if it is not and if the Executive start to run out of money because their budget is unworkable.

The residents of Randalstown, Ballyclare and Antrim in my patch are all suffering from the police cuts. Will the Secretary of State guarantee that if the Stormont House agreement—or the welfare agreement—does not happen, sufficient funding will be going through to ensure that we have enough police on the ground?

The security situation is one that we monitor at all times, and of course the security implications of the current political impasse will be an important part of our thinking in how we approach it. It is vital that this question is resolved. There is a question for Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour party: do they want to spend this money on a more expensive welfare system or do they want to fund front-line public services?

Belfast woman Maíria Cahill was raped by Martin Morris, with his crime being covered over by Padraic Wilson. Both those individuals’ trials have collapsed. Does the Secretary of State agree that there is a worrying trend that legacy cases in Northern Ireland involving senior republicans are not resulting in convictions?

It is obviously not appropriate for me to comment on the outcome of a particular court case, but these events were very shocking. This is another reason why it is important to press ahead with the new structures on the past, including the Historical Investigations Unit and the Independent Commission on Information Retrieval, which were agreed as part of the Stormont House agreement, because the current systems are not providing good enough outcomes for victims and survivors. Their interests should be at the heart of the actions of all of us in this House and in the Northern Ireland Assembly.