On Tuesday afternoon the Security Service MI5 has raised the terror threat in Northern Ireland from “Substantial” to “Severe” which means that a terrorist attack is now “highly likely” rather than just “likely.”
Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris of the Northern Ireland Office said that the terror threat level is “constantly monitored” and MI5 took the decision independently of government Ministers.
He added that the public should be vigilant and not be alarmed” and if they have any concerns they are being asked to report anything to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Last year the terror threat was lowered, but he added there is a “small number” of people who are determined to use “politically motivated violence,” despite the Good Friday Agreement.
Heaton-Harris said in recent months “we have seen an increase in levels of activity relating to Northern Ireland Related Terrorism, which has targeted police officers serving their communities and also put at risk the lives of children and other members of the public.
“These attacks have no support, as demonstrated by the reaction to the abhorrent attempted murder of DCI Caldwell.”
The Secretary of State added, “I pay tribute to the tremendous efforts of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and security partners and the determination and resilience of the Northern Ireland people, who are making Northern Ireland a safer place to live and work.
“The political future of Northern Ireland rests with the democratic will of the people and not the violent actions of the few.
“Together we will ensure there is no return to the violence of the past.”