David McNarry MLA, UKIP Leader in Northern Ireland has revealed that he has written to both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary asking them to include dissident Irish republican organisations in the provisions of the new counter-terrorism bill promised in the recent Queen’s speech. Mr McNarry said:
“I asked the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to include Irish Republican organisations, particularly republican dissident organisations, in the list of extreme groups to be targeted. I explained that the dissident threat was a major problem in this part of the United Kingdom, and is already a major pressure on police resources here.
I reminded them that it was equally a problem on the mainland. The logic of including these groups on such a list seemed to me to be beyond question considering the level of threat they pose to our free and democratic society.”
“I have now received a reply from the Minister for Countering Terrorism, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, in which he says that ‘the Home Secretary has set out a range of measures to tackle extremism and stand up for British values. These will form part of a 'new comprehensive strategy to defeat all forms of extremism : violent and non-violent, Neo-Nazi and Islamist.’
He went on to say new legislation would ban extremist groups, restrict individuals’ harmful extremist activity and close premises used to spread extremist influence.’
McNarry added: “While I welcome his answer, I still have concerns that ‘all forms of extremism’ seems to Lord Ahmad to have only four elements – that is ‘violent and non-violent, Neo-Nazi and Islamist.’ Unless he is labelling dissident Republican dissidents as neo-nazis, the exclusion of them by name from his list, conspicuously fails to specifically answer the key point in my letter. I will be writing again to Lord Ahmad to ask him specifically if his list includes Irish Republican dissidents in any of the categories he lists – that is ‘violent and non-violent, neo-nazi and Islamist.’ Considering the threat to life and limb the republican dissidents pose and the enormous impact they make on PSNI budgets, I believe I am right to press the government on this point.”