Unionist councillors have called for the British Army to be brought back onto the streets of Derry to help guard against jihadists in the aftermath of Monday’s suicide-bombing in Manchester.
Independent unionist, Alderman Maurice Devenney, speaking during Thursday’s monthly meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council, claimed that, with the current threat level for international terrorism in the UK now raised by the British security services to ‘critical’, it’s time for troops to be redeployed in support of the PSNI.
Alderman Devenney said police were under-resourced and that this was leading to slow response times, low visibility and station closures.
He said: “We need to be using our troops on the ground if the threat is that critical.”
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Alderman Derek Hussey agreed that all security options should be left on the table for those charged with responding to the jihadi threat.
He said “every possible defence force should be deployed in Northern Ireland if the need arises”, adding that “the full force of the nation” should be brought to bear against those intent on carrying out atrocities like that, which claimed the lives of 22 young people attending an Ariane Grande concert last Monday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, announced on Tuesday that 5,000 troops were being mobilised in support of police in Britain under Operation Temperer. However, the deployment will not apply to the North.
Ten years ago this summer Operation Banner, under which the British Army supported the RUC and, latterly, the PSNI in the North, ended after 38 years.
A small garrison of fewer than 5,000 troops remained under Operation Helvetic.