NORTHERN IRELAND: Joint MI5-PSNI report on paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland

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"All the main paramilitary groups operating during the period of the Troubles remain in existence... Seventeen years after the 1998 Belfast Agreement, paramilitary groups remain a feature of life in NI [and] maintain a relatively public profile in spite of being illegal organisations.

"However, the most serious current terrorist threat in NI is not posed by these groups but by dissident republicans (DRs) - paramilitary groups not on ceasefire and who reject the 1998 Belfast Agreement... Their activities pose a severe threat to NI's security and stability and, at any given time, a terrorist attack is highly likely. There is also a smaller threat posed by dissident loyalist paramilitary groups. This report does not focus on dissident groups."

See: Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland: An assessment commissioned by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the structure, role and purpose of paramilitary groups focusing on those which declared ceasfires in order to support and facilitate the political process (pdf)

And: Statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before the House of Commons, 20 October 2015 (pdf)

News coverage: IRA's 'army council' still exists and influences Sinn Féin strategy – report (The Guardian, link) and: Confusion as PSNI say IRA Army Council exists... but gardai say 'not on their side of the border' (Irish Independent, link)

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