‘Vile ISIS are a clear threat to NI’

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DUP MP Nigel Dodds has said there can be no compromise with the “vile terrorists” of Islamic State who could just as easily have downed a plane full of British holidaymakers in the Sinai and that bombing Syria will actually make a difference but is not an answer in itself.

He made the comments in support of airstrikes in Syria.

He told MPs the UK must fight terrorism head on.

“Our experience in Northern Ireland has taught us that no other approach can be brought to bear when facing terrorism. Terrorism must be fought, and fought with all means realistically at our disposal. We have not sought this conflict; terrorists have inflicted it on us, and we must now respond. We know only too well the consequences of terrorism being appeased and indulged. Terrorism must be faced up to. This is not a choice between political initiatives and fighting terrorism, because both go hand in hand. That is why it is important that the motion is about action now,” he said.

He underlined four conditions that qualified DUP support.

These were: that Islamic State had to be the target; that the UK had to be in clear danger; that bombing Islamic State would make a difference; and that the airstrikes were part of a broader intervention.

“First, we needed to know that the vile terrorists of Daesh/ISIL would be the target. That is explicit in the motion and I welcome that clear objective,” he said.

“Secondly, we had to be sure that those people represent a clear and present danger to the United Kingdom and our own citizens,” he said.

He added: “The Russian airliner that was blown up over Egypt could just as easily have been a plane carrying British holidaymakers, and the fantastic work done by our security services in thwarting attack after attack illustrates the level of the threat against us.”

He went on: “Thirdly, we needed to be convinced that British action would make a real and practical difference.

“The Prime Minister is right to say that the proposed action will not in itself resolve the terrorist threat, but if it helps to reduce, degrade or lessen the threat to British citizens - and I believe it will - it would be utterly wrong not to act.”

But Mr Dodds said bombing won’t work on its own.

“Military intervention on its own will not solve the problem, and it must be part of an overall package. However, to say that we should wait until there is a political or diplomatic outcome is like saying that we should have waited 30 years for the Belfast agreement or the St Andrew’s agreement to bring about a settlement in Northern Ireland. We must protect our own citizens now when there is a real and present danger to them. Not to do so would be a dereliction of duty.”