Letter: Intelligence gatherers' unity of purpose

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The Independent Online
Sir: Once again, and most unfortunately, it has been suggested that there is rivalry over intelligence gathering in Northern lreland to the detriment of the effort in combatting terrorism. Your report ('Major urged to end rivalry in Ulster's secret war', 17 January) gave further unwarranted currency to this quite unfounded claim.

There is no such unproductive rivalry and there is no ensuing detriment to the attrition that is being achieved against republican and loyalist terrorist organisations through the combined efforts of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Army and the Security Service.

In matters of intelligence, the agreed lead agency in Northern Ireland is the RUC and the undoubted preponderance of intelligence is of RUC origin. As far back as July 1992, in a public lecture at the Guildhall in London, I stated:

The intelligence relationships between the RUC, the Army and the intelligence community are extremely good and highly productive.

That was the position then and is the position now. Intelligence remains of crucial importance and enables the security forces in Northern Ireland to thwart the vast majority of terrorist outrages before they come to fruition.

Unjustified reports of rivalry do a disservice to all those very brave people who daily put their lives at risk to protect the community and wrongly detracts from their significant achievements. The public in Northern Ireland depend vitally on the RUC and the Army and we in turn depend on their support and confidence.

The people of this Province, and beyond, may be reassured that there is complete unity of purpose and effort among all those involved in ensuring that terrorism is defeated. That objective is being pursued with unrelenting vigour and determination.

Yours faithfully,

HUGH ANNESLEY

Chief Constable

The Royal Ulster Constabulary

Belfast

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