London has pumped an extra £230m into an anti-dissident war chest above and beyond state-funding doled out to the PSNI by Belfast.
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers acknowledged: “The Government have provided £230 million in extra security funding for the PSNI. The primary responsibility for funding the PSNI rests with the Executive, but the Stormont House agreement contains a provision to seek to protect its budget.”
She added: “That is yet another reason why this welfare question must be settled; the PSNI is among other front-line services that will suffer directly if it is not and if the Executive start to run out of money because their budget is unworkable.”
Whilst funding the PSNI is the Executive’s job, Whitehall regularly provided top ups throughout the course of the previous Government and that looks set to continue during the current one.
Ms Villier’s predecessor Owen Paterson even said anti-dissident funding could be further augmented by money from the Treasury’s national reserve if the security situation deteriorated.
The Secretary of State says the threat remains severe.
Ms Villiers said: “It is potentially lethal and it is enduring. It is being suppressed through the hard work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5, but the need for a high state of vigilance remains.”