New work explores RAAD vigilante attacks

Published Thursday, 29 November 2012
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A new book exploring the dissident republican vigilante movement in Northern Ireland has claimed "a new generation of victims" has been created.

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.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Frosty in Here wrote (506 days ago):
@Realist, it has nothing to do with garnering public support. It's about instilling fear in the community and ensuring only Republican IRA drugs are sold and the profits go to the Republican IRA movement, not to independent dealers and, of course, ensuring that their communities know the Republican IRA still control their areas. They don't want drugs legalised as there's too much money to be made from misery. Their message is, either sell drugs for the IRA or get shot. I wonder how many RAAD members get coked off their heads before they go out to issue a punishment beating? Like all paramilitaries, big men behind masks and in a gang, on their own they'd s*** themselves if you said boo to them, which is probably why the cowards join in the first place.
Sekonda in Belfast wrote (507 days ago):
RAAD do what they do because they push the drugs themselves and want to control the territory. Anyone who doesn't see these groups as organised crime has their head in the sand. The PSNI are scared to take them on because the last time they did it led to internment. The PSNI are powerless because of the constant and continuing legacy of fear that exists in our cesspit of a country.
Realist in England wrote (508 days ago):
I would like to draw attention to the thumbnail for the story. "Bully Boys Behind masks". Without passing judgement on any particular thing they did/said/etc., it really is pitifully banal to scribble such stupid ad hominem slogans on walls. Basically, the police also act against drugs. In many parts of the world, state bodies would be more harsh in their treatment of people involved in drugs - no warnings, no chance to desist - caught in possession of drugs once = period languishing on death row prior to execution, with the full blessing of the state and its laws. No slogans on walls would influence such governments to pardon you. That RAAD didn't overcome the issue of drugs in Derry is no different to the fact that drugs exist in countries where you can be executed for their possession. People, especially young people, want drugs and where there is a demand, a supply will always come from somewhere. The fact that RAAD are not a legitimate government body does not mean that their message is necessarily a bad one nor that it shouldn't be imposed on the public by force (some things may merit such draconian measures). Saying that, I totally disagree with their message/analysis and believe that most, if not all, drugs should be legalised within a new regulatory framework. Anti-republican slogans scrawled on walls are not rational arguments that republicans are likely to listen to and, therefore, they are not going to help anyone. If those who were previously in RAAD were to see that there was huge support for legalisation around the country, then they would undoubtedly yield to public opinion as, in my opinion at least, they do what they do to garner public support.
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