May 26, 2009: Britain still has problems with the IRA (Irish Republican Army), even though Northern Ireland (which the IRA wants to unite with the Republic of Ireland to the south) has been largely free of terrorist violence by IRA factions for the last decade. Currently, MI5 (Britain's domestic intelligence agency) still spends $64 million a year (15 percent of their budget) tracking three remaining IRA factions (the Continuity IRA, Real IRA and the Óglaigh na Éireann) in Northern Ireland. Over 200 MI5 agents (about ten percent of the total) are stationed in Northern Ireland as well.
While tracking down IRA terrorists, MI5 has come across quite a bit of Islamic terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. One wanted al Qaeda member, Abbas Boutrab, was found and arrested there. Currently, believes at least three al Qaeda cells are operating there as well. Islamic terrorists have sought hiding places in rural parts of Britain, which has not worked out so well.