Terror threat still active in Mid Ulster

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Paramilitary organisations across the Mid Ulster District continue to have members involved in acts of violence and intimidation, according to the latest government figures.

Eighteen years after the Good Friday Agreement, Mid Ulster residents are still living in the shadow of gunmen, as well as gangsters and racists, with at least 42 local families intimidated from their homes, according to the figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

In fact, almost 50 percent of all homelessness in the Mid Ulster area was blamed on paramilitary or sectarian intimidation.

The level of disruption is also reflected in the fact that police investigating suspect terrorist activity have had to temporarily close the M1 motorway, as well as local roads including Pomeroy Road, Donaghmore, Brackaville Road, Coalisland, Circular Road, Dungannon, Drum Road, Cookstown, and Orritor Road, Cookstown over the past two years.

Police in Tyrone also recovered 580 rounds of ammunition, three firearms and made seven arrests linked to terrorist activity last year.

They investigated a shooting incident related to terrorism, as well as three paramilitary attacks which left the victims requiring treatment.

The figures show that substantial resources are still being deployed across the county to monitor the activities of dissident suspects, and to thwart planned attacks.

A report compiled by online news website The Detail has criticised the government over its failure to tackle the scale of violence 20 years into the peace process, with evidence that groups retain huge numbers of members, with large amounts of weaponry still in circulation.

Within weeks of the May 5 Assembly elections a government-appointed panel is scheduled to present recommendations on disbanding paramilitary groups.

This comes as there is also a focus on the failure to provide policies to re-integrate the estimated 30,000-40,000 former paramilitary prisoners in Northern Ireland.