“We are obviously very concerned at the level of threat..”

With another security alert in Belfast following reports of an explosion near a Territorial Army base, it’s worth noting comments by deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie earlier in the week. From the Irish Times

PSNI deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie also said many people formerly involved in terrorism were now using their old gun-running routes and methods for “other contraband” associated with organised crime. She said dissidents were continuing to engage in for-profit crime to raise money to fund terrorism. Joint Garda-PSNI operations were trying to combat this activity and to ensure the Border could not be exploited by the organisations. Dissident groups were also continuing to recruit and the threat they posed north of the Border had been raised to “severe”. “That’s not a word we use wantonly; we use it very carefully. We are obviously very concerned at the level of threat and it behoves us all to work together.”

Ms Gillespie was speaking to the media ahead of the opening of a Garda-PSNI cross-Border seminar on organised crime being held in Dundalk, Co Louth. The conference proper was not open to the media. When asked how many people were involved in dissident groups, Ms Gillespie said. “We’re talking in the low hundreds, but it depends what you mean by ‘involved’. “There are people who tacitly support these people; those people who turn a blind eye to what they do or don’t report what they do . . . or by lending a vehicle. But in terms of active involvement, you’re talking about low hundreds.”