UK Army Special Forces Back To Spy In N. Ireland

This story from the Beeb popped up in my RSS feeds-

Special forces monitor dissidents
Today, 06:00 PM
Members of the Army’s special forces are to help gather intelligence on dissident republicans, the BBC learns. Read more…

But clicking it gives a 404, for this url-

the story has been scrubbed and no cache exists that I can find, two other stories relating to it are published on the BBC-

The intelligence service MI5 is still devoting considerable resources to Northern Ireland, according to a report from a Parliamentary committee. The Intelligence & Security Committee Report has revealed MI5 allocated 15% of its resources in 2007/08 to what it calls “Irish-related terrorism”. However, this was down from 17% in 2006/07. The committee reports that dissident republicans continue to pose a threat in NI and the rest of the UK.


The government and security services believe dissident republicans pose a greater threat than ever. The threat assessment has been raised to “severe”, meaning an attack is regarded as highly likely. The decision to upgrade the level was made by MI5 – responsible for gathering intelligence on dissident republicans.

So I guess the Beeb got a phone call, yes big up the fearmongering but No don’t blab our special forces are back doing the do in the occupied territories. After all that worked out so well in the past, if by well you mean collusion with loyalist death squads. The War of Terror, the gift that keeps on giving.

Update: A version has turned up thanks to commenter Watching Them, Watching Us of Spyblog!

6 Responses to “UK Army Special Forces Back To Spy In N. Ireland”

  1. Watching Them, Watching Us Says:

    Was it this story, which has been moved to be the headline on the Northern Ireland page of the BBC news website:?

    Special forces monitor dissidents
    By Vincent Kearney
    Home Affairs Correspondent

    The SDLP has expressed concern that Army special forces soldiers are back in Northern Ireland to help gather intelligence on dissident republicans.

    Special forces, such as the SAS, operated throughout the Troubles, but left after the 1997 IRA ceasefire.

    Members of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, which has been at the forefront of the intelligence war in Afghanistan and Iraq, have returned.

    The SDLP’s Dolores Kelly said using special forces raised questions.


    It is understood that the soldiers will not be on the streets, but will work behind the scenes.

    The regiment specialises in surveillance and intelligence gathering.

    The move is a response to growing concerns about dissident republican activity. The security services have raised the official threat level to severe – meaning they believe an attack is highly likely.

    It is understood that the Army has also deployed additional bomb squad officers to Northern Ireland in recent months.

    Operation Banner, the Army’s role in security operations in Northern Ireland, ended almost two years ago – so the deployment of special forces – even in very small numbers – is likely to cause controversy.

  2. RickB Says:

    That seems to be it, somewhat late and with SDLP reactions, thanks.

    • ralfast Says:

      Testing new surveillance doctrines? Reviving old conflicts now that the War against Islam has run it’s course?

      • RickB Says:

        Well yes, the spooks are very aware of keeping themselves in work plus old habits die hard, and they hate having to learn about new cultures/languages, so Ireland works much better for them.

  3. Outlander Says:


    Did a bit of digging after reading your post.

    This might interest you:

  4. RickB Says:

    Outlander, that’s pretty interesting, for my money I think the recent attacks are possible from dead enders but it is true UK spooks have thoroughly infiltrated the republicans in the past. I would say the establishment may not have tried too hard to stop these eejits.
    This is also worth a read

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