MI5 and police 'disrupt most Northern Ireland terror plots'
The director general of MI5 has said the vast majority of dissident republican plots in Northern Ireland are being "detected and disrupted".
Andrew Parker was making his first public speech since taking over as head of the UK Security Service in April.
He described the dissidents as "ragged remnants of a bygone age".
MI5 took over the lead role for national security intelligence work in Northern Ireland in 2005.
While much of Mr Parker's speech to the Royal United Services Institute in Whitehall concentrated on the threat from Islamist extremists, he also discussed the security situation in Northern Ireland.
He said various "terrorist factions" remain determined to kill people in Northern Ireland.
"We and the Police Service of Northern Ireland detect and disrupt the vast majority of their attempts," he said.
"But occasionally we are all stung with the tragedy of wanton murder, as we saw most recently with the shooting of (prison officer) David Black last November.
"Rejecting the political process in Northern Ireland, these ragged remnants of a bygone age are in a cul-de-sac of pointless violence and crime with little community support.
"We will continue to work with the police to put these thugs and killers in front of the courts."