Two ex-republican informers have accused the security services and the British government of gross negligence following the Real IRA's threat that they, and other spies, are on the organisation's hit list.
Raymond Gilmour and Marty McGartland described the state's response to the threats, which were disclosed in last week's Sunday Tribune, as "wholly inadequate" and said not enough was being done to protect their lives.
Gilmour and McGartland live at secret locations in Britain. The Real IRA warned it wanted to kill both men, along with other informers such as Freddie Scappaticci.
McGartland, who is originally from west Belfast, said: "I rang MI5 on Sunday morning following your newspaper's reports.
"I got an answering machine. It took them six days to get back to me. The state is failing in its duty of care to ex-agents who risked their all."
Gilmour said: "I take the threats made by the scum who call themselves the Real IRA very seriously. They're able to carry out attacks under the nose of the massive intelligence machine in Northern Ireland.
"The murder of two soldiers at Massereene, and that of a policeman in Craigavon, show these aren't empty threats."
He accused the security forces of indifference: "They don't give a s**t about us. After Massereene, I asked for an alarm system to be installed in my home. They said I didn't need one but they'd 'monitor the security situation'.
"After the Real IRA threat last weekend, I asked for bullet-proof windows and a reinforced door. They again repeated this mantra that they're 'monitoring the situation'."
Gilmour said he hasn't the money to install such security measures himself: "I've a heart problem and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I live a very sad life on benefits. People like myself and Martin McGartland, who put our lives on the line, are treated worse than enemies of the state."
Gilmour continued: "During my time as an agent, I destroyed the IRA and INLA in Londonderry. Now those for whom I worked refuse to take basic measures to protect my life."
McGartland, who has survived two Provisional IRA murder attempts, said: "The security services would have known about this threat before it appeared in the Sunday Tribune.
"Why weren't we warned in advance? There's a big MI5 base in Holywood (Co Down). Is it just an ornament?"
However, he had been "reassured" by MI5 that the Real IRA was "incapable of mounting a meaningful attack on the mainland at the moment".
While he took the Real IRA threat seriously, he wasn't surprised by it: "They are pathetic.
"In their Easter statement, they threaten the world and their granny.