Downgrade of Northern Ireland terrorist may have been ‘premature and counterproductive’

DUP Parliamentary Group Leader Nigel Dodds

DUP Parliamentary Group Leader Nigel Dodds has said today that the downgrade of the threat of Northern Ireland related terrorism in Great Britain may have been ‘premature and counterproductive.’

Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday downgraded the threat of attack from dissident Irish republicans in Great Britain from substantial to moderate, meaning that a terrorist attack is ‘possible, but not likely’. The threat to Northern Ireland remains severe and they also confirmed that international terrorism remains a high risk.

DUP’s Nigel Dodds is concerned that this will mean that security surrounding Northern Ireland related terrorism in Great Britain will get complacent and asks the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to remain vigilant despite the announcement.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said, ‘"The Secretary of State will know that the announcement made this morning by the Home Secretary that the threat level from dissident republicans in the mainland has been reduced from substantial to moderate.

"Does she share the concern that many people have that such an announcement may be both premature and somewhat counter-productive and can she give an assurance to the House, given recent experience about intelligence level reports, that there won't be any reduction in security or any complacency on the part of the security forces."

Villiers answered back by claiming that she would be as vigilant as ever to make sure that there are no acts of terrorism in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

"I can give him that assurance that we will continue to be vigilant in the face of the continuing threat in relation to Northern Ireland-related terrorism. He will appreciate that the change announced today as he says relates to Great Britain, the threat level in Northern Ireland remains at severe.

“In both Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Government is focused on defeating terrorism and we will use all means at our disposal to do that."