Irish Republican News · March 3, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: MI5 extends role in Ireland
MI5 extends role in Ireland

British intelligence agency MI5 will take formal control of British “national security” in Ireland, including classified information held by the PSNI police, it was announced this week.

British Secretary of State Paul Murphy revealed yesterday.

MI5 will take over responsibility for decisions previously taken by elements of the PSNI’s Special Branch.

Links between the two agencies have got increasingly closer in recent years, with some former senior RUC members being appointed to key Home Office posts.

Mr Murphy said in his statement, “The Security Service [MI5] will assume for Northern Ireland the lead responsibility it has had for national security intelligence work since 1992 in Great Britain. Such change will in no way diminish the role of the PSNI in intelligence gathering in areas other than national security, nor of course in mounting executive policing operations, making arrests and taking forward prosecutions.

“We intend that the new arrangements, together with associated safeguards, will be fully operational during 2007. This timetable reflects the need for detailed planning and implementation.”

Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly said the move was “designed to prejudice the transfer of [policing and justice] powers in favour of British state interests”.

Transfer of powers on policing and justice from London to a restored Assembly in Belfast has been a central demand of nationalists in peace process negotiations.

Kelly expressed concern that the move only simulated movement on the key issue of policing and justice, pointing out that MI5 has been found to have played a part in a number of controversial killings in the North.

“It gives no comfort to the nationalist community that the very agencies of the British state which have been implicated by Judge [Peter] Cory in state murder and criminality against Irish citizens are to have that role perpetuated.”

© 2005 Irish Republican News