Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Tom Elliott has urged the government to use its new counter-extremism strategy to tackle cross-border crime.
The UUP representative questioned Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers on the topic of fuel laundering and other criminality near the Border asking if she would be willing to engage the National Crime Agency in tackling the issue of criminal and organised paramilitary activity.
“It is an international issue, because some of those concerned come from the Republic of Ireland jurisdiction,” said Mr. Elliott. “I hope that the Secretary of State will ensure that they are not let off the hook by making sure that the Garda Síochana is also involved in tackling such criminality.”
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers promised to see whether more can be done to combat criminality along the border area.
Elliott also welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron regarding a new counter-extremism strategy and called on the UK government to ensure that it is also applied to “extremists in Northern Ireland.
“I hope that the measures included within it will apply in Northern Ireland as much as in London, Manchester or any other part of the United Kingdom.
“Extremism of all forms can tear at the fabric of society and that includes paramilitarism in Northern Ireland. Whether the threat emanates from Islamic extremists or paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, it needs to be challenged. For too long, terrorists and their apologists in Northern Ireland have been allowed to propagate their sick propaganda”, he said.