PracticeAccounting FirmsAnti-terror unit needs more accountants

Anti-terror unit needs more accountants

MPs have said an anti-terrorist finance unit in Northern Ireland is in dire need of more experts including more forensic accountants.

Members of the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee issued a report calling for more resources last week but have since made it clear that what the unit needs urgently is finance experts.

The Assets Recovery Agency, which has a staff of just ten, works to recover the financial gains from the illegal fundraising activities of paramilitary organisations like the Provisional IRA, the Real IRA, the INLA and a number of loyalist terror groups. Activities include money laundering, tobacco and fuel smuggling and counterfeiting. Bill Tynan, a Labour member of the committee, said: ‘We are concerned there aren’t enough people and there aren’t enough experts.’

The call comes at a tense time in Northern Ireland as Orangemen take to the streets as part of the marching season. A comparable agency in the Republic of Ireland visited by the committee was staffed by more than 40.

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