£200m ‘needed’ against dissidents

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says dissidents are “out-of-step with history and out-of-step with their own people”, on the day the PSNI chief constable revealed he needed an extra £200m to fight them.

The UK Government is currently considering a bid from Matt Baggott to supplement the region’s police budget over the next four years in order to deal with the threat, which remains severe.

Martin McGuinness | Sinn Fein“Anybody who is prepared to take up a gun and use a bomb against the backdrop of knowing that the vast majority of the people of Ireland want a peaceful way forward is always dangerous. We saw that at Omagh where tragically over 30 people lost their lives as a result of their activities”, Mr McGuinness told UTV Live Tonight.

“I think that some people within the media overplay their abilities, but that is not to say that they couldn’t go out tomorrow as a result of something going wrong and kill an awful lot of people.

“I will defend to my death their right to be opposed to what I’m doing, but I will not defend their right to engage in activities that are rejected by the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland,” the Sinn Féin representative added.

The PSNI has been granted access to Treasury reserves over the last two years for funds specific to the threat.

Mr Baggott told members of the Policing Board on Thursday: “We made a very reasonable and a very reasoned argument for doing that, well supported and that has been received very sympathetically at the highest levels of government.”

“I am waiting to see when and how that money will come but the case has been very well made, it was sympathetically received and now we wait and see quite when that will be delivered and the conditions attached to it.”

Stormont justice minister David Ford has backed the call.

Dealing with dissidents

‘The war is over’ – McGuinness

Dissident threat remains