Friday 22 November 2019

Warning over dissident republicans

Dissident republicans will want to sabotage whatever is achieved in the policing and justice negotiations in the North, the head of an influential committee of MPs has warned.

Groups like the Real IRA have no respect for human life and must not be allowed to dictate progress, Sir Patrick Cormack added.

His Northern Ireland Affairs Committee is at Stormont considering the devolution of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast. The British and Irish premiers are chairing all-party talks at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down, about the transfer.

Sir Patrick said: "There are some people who will want to sabotage whatever is achieved and there are some people who have shown that they hold human life very cheap, but we must not allow those people to dictate the progress of the outcome."

Earlier this month dissidents tried to kill a police officer. Constable Peadar Heffron had a leg amputated after his car was bombed near Randalstown, Co Antrim.

Last year a policeman's partner was hurt near police headquarters in east Belfast when a device exploded under the vehicle.

In March two soldiers were shot dead at Massereene Barracks, Antrim, by the Real IRA. Two days later Constable Stephen Carroll was gunned down in Craigavon, Co Armagh, by the Continuity IRA.

Sir Patrick heard evidence on Monday from PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott and Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson about the devolution of security powers.

"It's going to call for understanding, tolerance, patience from all sides. What I don't want to see is talks collapse at Hillsborough," he said.

PA Media

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