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Security at Stormont always under review says assembly

Published 16/05/2013




THE assembly has insisted its security is "under constant re-view" after a victim of institutional abuse claimed dissident republicans tried to force him to carry out a bomb attack at Parliament Buildings.

The man said he received a second death threat last night from someone purporting to represent Oglaigh na h'Eireann (ONH) after refusing to plant explosives in the Stormont canteen.

He belongs to the campaign group Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) which has regular meetings at Stormont with politicians and civil servants and he was to use one of those as a cover to smuggle explosives into the seat of government.

The man said he was told by ONH that "security in Stormont was very relaxed now".

In response to his claim, a spokes-woman for the assembly said it "does not comment in detail on security matters".

"The Assembly Commission initiated a major review of security at Parliament Buildings in 2006," she said.

"Security measures are kept under constant review to ensure a safe and secure environment for all those who use Parliament Buildings.

"All visitors to Parliament Buildings must come through a security check before entering the building."

It was revealed last month that five Stormont security guards were facing an assembly investigation over how an off-duty police officer was able to enter Parliament Buildings with a gun.

The police officer passed through the main security check at a search and scanning facility on the driveway up to the stately building.

In 2006 loyalist killer Michael Stone was wrestled to the ground by a security guard at the front door of the building after trying to carry out a gun and bomb attack.

After his arrest Stone told police he had wanted to kill Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness but during his trial argued that the incident had merely been performance art.

The former UDA man had gone to Stormont equipped with explosives, knives, an axe and garrotte.

He was convicted of attempted murder and jailed for 16 years.

Margaret McGuckin from Savia said she has been contacted by many worried members of the group since the man spoke out in The Irish News yesterday.

"They are worried they are being watched by dissident republicans and their details are known," she said.

"One person said to me 'Have they got all our names?'

"People feel vulnerable."

Community Restorative Justice Ireland director Harry Maguire repeated his call for the threat against the man to be withdrawn.

"Lift the threat. It is intolerable that a victim of abuse is being put at risk by an armed group," Mr Maguire said.

"It is intolerable for our community to be placed in that type of position."