Terrorism On Agenda

A meeting in Dublin today is putting republican terrorism back in focus while in Belfast, the Stormont Justice Minister David Ford has gone public to deny that the PSNI have turned a 'blind eye' to the UVF killers of Shankill Road loyalist, Bobby Moffett.

The Executive politician's comments came after last week's Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) findings that Mr Moffett's murder on the Shankill Road in May was actually sanctioned by the leadership of the terror group the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

"I don't think there's any question of the police turning a blind eye, as I understand it, the police are investigating the murder of Bobby Moffett as they investigate all serious crimes.

"I think the issue is, what is the UVF leadership up to?

"We've seen that the IMC has not yet recommended specifications by the Secretary of State of the UVF but it is absolutely clear the UVF now has to show that it is on the path that it claims to be on," he added.

In their report, the Independent Monitoring Commission called Bobby Moffett's murder a public execution.

They said it was ordered by UVF leaders who thought "he had flouted their authority"

Meanwhile today, there has been a separate call for cross-border policing co-operation to be stepped up to combat dissident republicans.

The SDLP Leader Margaret Ritchie and Deputy Leader Patsy McGlone are meeting Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen on the issue.

"Our most immediate concern is the rise in dissident violence," she said, noting that it was "an attack on Irish democracy north and south".

The SDLP boss also criticised the performance of the UK's security service, MI5 in combating dissidents in Northern Ireland.

"We believe that the transfer of intelligence primacy from the PSNI to MI5 in 2007 was a mistake and a failure," Ms Ritchie said.

However, on a more positive note she said that the Irish police continue to frustrate dissident operations and make arrests based on high-grade intelligence.

"We will be telling the Taoiseach that we believe the time has come to step up cross-border policing co-operation and give it practical and visible outcomes, particularly in border areas," she said.

"It is important that such security and policing co-operation should be built up in a broader context.

"The existing cross-border bodies set up under the Good Friday Agreement address a narrow range of activities and we would like to see these expanded.

"However, it is important that the mutual benefits are known throughout the island of Ireland."

In advance of the event, she concluded: "The profile of North South co-operation is generally low in the south and we hope the government might address this problem."


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