MI5 to take over NI security intelligence

THURSDAY 24/02/2005 14:17:59

MI5 is to take charge of national security intelligence work in
Northern Ireland, Secretary of State Paul Murphy announced today.
By:Press Association

It will assume lead responsibility from Hugh Orde`s police service in
2007, falling into line with the rest of the UK as part of British
Government moves to provide a consistent and co-ordinated response to
international terrorism.

In a Commons written statement, Mr Murphy said: "Sharing of
intelligence on a cross-border and international basis will be
particularly important in combating money laundering and other
aspects of organised crime."

The security service, he said, would continue to work in partnership
with the PSNI, which will provide the operational police response in
countering terrorism.

The powers of the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the office of
police ombudsman Nuala O`Loan will not be affected by the change.

It is understood that Ms O`Loan has some reservations about the

Her spokesman said: "She will be studying the detail very closely,
particularly with regard to ensuring that all elements of policing in
Northern Ireland continue to be fully accountable to the public."

Northern Ireland Policing Board chairman Professor Desmond Rea
confirmed members would question Chief Constable Hugh Orde next
Wednesday about the implications of the intelligence move.

"I have called, on behalf of the Board, for a briefing from
Government at an early opportunity," he said.

"National security is, and always has been, a matter reserved to
Government, and is not a matter for the Policing Board. However since
it impinges operationally on the PSNI the Board will want to explore
the implications of this decision.

"As the statement from Government notes, the PSNI will, as now,
provide the operational police response in countering terrorism, and
in protecting the whole community of Northern Ireland."

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