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New work explores RAAD vigilante attacks

There is some support for the vigilante group but others condemn their presence.

A new book exploring the dissident republican vigilante movement in Northern Ireland has claimed "a new generation of victims" has been created.

Thursday, 29 November 2012
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Over the last three years so-called punishment shootings in the Derry area in particular have become increasingly common.

In some cases, parents have had to take their children to be shot in the city.

The group behind most of these attacks was Republican Action Against Drugs, known as RAAD, who say they are targeting drug dealing in the community.

But a new book focusing on this new wave of terrorism says the shootings have not stemmed any drugs problem.

Author John Lindsay explained: "Very few perpetrators (are) brought to justice as a result of so-called punishment attacks, and also (they were) something that seemed to increase in occurrence when there were apparently ceasefires in place- so when other forms of violence weren't happening, more people were getting shot at, on account of allegations of drug dealing."

He found that within both republican and loyalist communities there is a degree of support for such shootings.

The author said in writing the book, 'No Dope Here?' he has tried to understand why the attacks were happening.

"People are afraid of crime, afraid of drugs so there was a sort of populist agenda, it may also be a way of exerting control on communities," he said.

It's not a normal society.

Donna Smith, mother of RAAD victim Andrew Allen

24-year-old Andrew Allen from Derry became a victim of the group, he was shot dead in Donegal in February this year after he was exiled from the city.

His mother Donna Smith has said there is a need for community support for policing, as their role is being taken over by dissidents in the area.

"There's other people that have had to take their children to be shot. This isn't the way it should be," she said.

"You should be able to go to the police about these things and I know people are scared."

Many of RAAD's members are believed to have allied themselves to another dissident grouping calling itself the new IRA.

The group admitted responsibility for the murder of Co Tyrone prison officer David Black earlier this month.

They said the killing was linked to conditions at Maghaberry Prison where republican prisoners are refusing to wash in an attempt to secure political status.