Dissident Irish militants pose threat to 2012 Games

London: Dissident Irish nationalists pose a security threat to the London 2012 Olympics, Britain`s sports minister said on Monday.

Hugh Robertson made the comment as he unveiled the latest government finances for the Games which showed the overall cost remains within the 9.3 billion pound (USD 14.9 billion) budget.

"The security situation is very uncertain," Robertson told reporters.

"When we started talking about this probably two years, 18 months out nobody foresaw for example the rise and threat from dissident republicans that they are facing across the water. It is a threat to the Games.

Northern Ireland has seen an upsurge in shootings and bombings targeting police officers and soldiers during the past two years by nationalist splinter groups who want to end British rule.

Security costs for the Games have been boosted and could hit 1 billion pounds, including contingency.

Four British Islamists killed 52 people in attacks on the London transport network on July 7 2005 -- the day after London was awarded the Games.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), responsible for building the Games` infrastructure, continues to see its overall costs rising.

Its expected final cost is within 20 million pounds of its 7.321 billion pound public funding package, but organisers said infrastructure was about 80 percent complete, and there was enough headroom to meet any unexpected costs or risk.

More than 30 million pounds of savings were made in the previous quarter, including 10 million pounds on the main stadium, which is now expected to come in at 486 million pounds.

About 1.33 billion pounds of contingency has been allocated, leaving 839 million pounds to be disbursed.

London`s organising committee (LOCOG), responsible for staging the Games, will receive about 500 million pounds of taxpayers` money to help it meet its additional responsibilities outlined in last year`s comprehensive spending review.

It will receive 282 million pounds to help with venue security, 67 million pounds for park operations, 95 million pounds to help pay for the Paralympics and a further 63 million pounds.

Bureau Report

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