Dissidents are fundraising in Great Britain

THE supporters of dissident republican terrorists are using illegal fundraising activities in Great Britain such as fuel smuggling to finance the terror campaign in Northern Ireland, according to DUP MP Gregory Campbell.

Mr Campbell made the claims during a debate at Westminster during which Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson admitted he was aware dissident groups funded their activities in a number of illegal ways.

Mr Paterson also said that the threat level in Northern Ireland remained severe but that those “intent on committing violence are defying the will of the overwhelming majority of people, who want to go about their lives without fear and intimidation.”

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell asked the Minister if he was aware - with the dissident terror threat increasing - that “supporters of dissident terror are using illegal fundraising activities here in mainland GB, such as fuel smuggling and so on, to fund the campaign in Northern Ireland?”

The Minister replied: “We are aware that such individuals fund their activities by a number of illegal means, and there has to be a question mark over them, whether they are used by criminal organisations or by paramilitary organisations.

“All such activities are totally and absolutely unsupportable.

“We have the full backing of the communities. We are talking about a tiny number of people who are not widely supported, and the way to beat them is for the people in the communities on the ground to work with the police.”

Mr Paterson also said the Government remained committed to countering terrorism in all its forms.

He referred to the extra £200m provided to the Chief Constable of the PSNI two years ago to combat the dissident threat and how that would be invested in a range of measures including support for ATOs (ammunition technical officers).

This was “very much a feature of the £200 million programme that we put together two years ago,” said Mr Paterson.