Two months before Brexit, British MI5 deploys several personnel in Northern Ireland fearing violence
London, Jan 29: The situation is turning tense as the formal date for Brexit is approaching. Exactly two months ahead of D-Day, it has been reported that the British Security Service (MI5) has over 700 officers - constituting over 20 per cent of its entire force - deployed in Northern Ireland owing to apprehension that the Brexit might see revival of the centuries-long sectarian clashes there, Intel News reported.
Nationalist rebels had dislodged Ireland from the British Empire way back in 1922 but six counties in the country's North remained under the British Dominion and form what is known as Northern Ireland that is a part of Great Britain. Irish nationals though haven't kept quiet and tried to unite these counties with the Republic of Ireland - sometimes peacefully while at times, through violence.
It was through the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 that the two sides - the Irish and British - ended their armed operations and the gradual integration of Ireland and Britain into the European Union helped their peace further through open border.
This virtual unification, thanks to the idea of European integration, helped a great deal in burying the violent past that the two sides shared.
Brexit will mean shut border & probably a revisit to the past violence
But Brexit will mean that the border will be shut again and according to many, this could see a revisit to secessionist sentiments and hence violence.
The Intel News cited a recent report by London-based 'The Daily Mail' which in turn, cited anonymous "counterterrorism source" saying the MI5 stationed a fifth of its personnel in Northern Ireland.
The security agency is reportedly keeping a watch on a number of dissident republican groups - a term which is used to describe armed Irish nationalists who reject the majority view of accepting the Good Friday Agreement.
One such group is the New Irish Republican Army which was formed in 2012 when the dissident republican cells joined another dissident outfit called the Real IRA.
"The new formation is particularly strong in Northern Ireland's extreme northwest, which includes urban centers like Derry. British security officials believe that the New IRA consists of about 40 hardcore members who are committed to an armed campaign against British rule in the North," said the Intel News report.
The New IRA detonated a car bomb in Derry on January 19 almost half an hour after an unidentified man issued a bomb warning. There were no injuries though.