Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Questions (256)

Micheál Martin


256. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has recently received a security report on Northern Ireland. [53433/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am kept informed on a regular basis by my officials and by senior officers from an Garda Síochána on the security situation in Northern Ireland.

The primary security threat is from republican paramilitary groups; the so-called ‘dissident’ groups. While they have become somewhat factionalised over time, they still present a real and persistent threat. The shared assessment of the threat in Northern Ireland is that it remains 'Severe' (that is to say, a terrorist attack is highly likely). The dissident paramilitary groups continue to focus their efforts primarily on targeting members of the security forces in Northern Ireland, as evidenced tragically in recent years by the murders of NI Prison Officers Alan Black and Adrian Ismay, and a number of attempts to murder PSNI constables, including in July in Derry when a number of shots were fired at the PSNI.

Garda activities to disrupt and prevent actions by republican paramilitary groups continue without cease. There have been notable successes and disruptions of activity in this regard – many seizures of arms and material, and notable arrests and convictions.

The Gardaí maintain a high level of on-going, close co-operation with their counterparts in Northern Ireland and in Britain in responding to this threat. This operational relationship is absolutely central to bearing down on and disrupting the activities of these groups and, therefore, to maintaining security on the island.