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5 June 2012
Vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs has said it carried out the bomb attack on the PSNI in Derry on Saturday and warned that more attacks on security forces will follow.
In a statement, the group said it was responsible for a blast bomb attack which caused significant damage to the front of a PSNI vehicle in the Rathmore Road area of Creggan shortly before 5pm on Saturday.
The bomb, described by RAAD as “a newly developed explosive device,” was thrown at the vehicle while police officers carried out a house search in the area.
The PSNI condemned the attack and described it as an attempt to murder police officers.
It’s the first time the group has admitted targeting the security forces and marks an escalation of its violent actions. RAAD also said that such attacks would continue “as long as the security forces continue to victimise republican areas.”
Earlier this year the group claimed responsibility for its first murder when it admitted killing Derry man Andrew Allen in Lisfannon.
Until now, the group had claimed to be non-political, despite growing claims in republican circles that it had aligned itself with dissident republican groupings.
When it first appeared more than three years ago, RAAD claimed it was not interested in politics, despite its use of the name ‘republican.’
The now-defunct Independent Monitoring Commission, the body set up to monitor paramilitary activity in the North, described RAAD as a vigilante group rather than a dissident republican group in several of its later reports.
However, over the course of the last year many republicans claimed that RAAD had become a dissident organisation, pointing to the group’s use of the term ‘IRA’ to describe the Real IRA in a previous statement.
Saturday’s bomb attack comes after an increase in the number of search operations carried out by the PSNI in nationalist and republican areas of the city, which many believe are directed against RAAD.
A number of searches were carried out in the Creggan and Shantallow areas of the city on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Creggan Sinn Féin councillor and deputy mayor Kevin Campbell condemned the bomb attack and said that the lives of civilians had been put at risk.
RAAD rejected the assertion and claimed the area “was first secured to ensure there were no civilians nearby”.
“This attack was a direct response to increased and ever more brutal attacks on republicans and their families,” the RAAD statement claimed.
Anger at SF
RAAD also launched a stinging attack on Sinn Féin and claimed the party is responsible for the recent PSNI actions in the Creggan area.
“These recent arrests and searches have been instigated by Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin are responsible for the upsurge in trouble in republican areas caused by the response to security force brutality,” RAAD claimed.
1 June 2012
A man has been arrested in connection with paramilitary attacks in Derry.
Police say the 56-year-old was arrested earlier today (Friday).
The PSNI also came under attack by petrol bombers during a search of a house in the Creggan area of the city.
“A number of items have been seized for specialist examination including a quantity of suspected firearms, believed to be similar to those used in attacks in the city,” a PSNI spokeswoman says
It is understood the arrest is in connection to the activity of vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD).
13 May 2012
Republican vigilantes conducting a campaign of shootings and beatings have in the past year forced more than 200 young men out of Derry, which will become Britain’s City of Culture in 2013, the Guardian can reveal.
At least 85 men have been shot over the same period in “punishment” attacks by Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD), according to police figures.
In some instances those targeted, mostly in their teens or early 20s, have been forced to turn up with a parent or relative for a pre-arranged appointment to be wounded for alleged drug dealing and other supposed crimes.
Martin McGuinness, the Provisional IRA ex-chief of staff turned deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, made an unprecedented move calling on the public in his native city to inform on the republican paramilitaries responsible. Figures from community organisations in Derry mediating between RAAD, the Real IRA and the victims show up to four men are being forced out of the city every week.
As Derry prepares to be the UK’s City of Culture, the families of those under attack, including the mother of a RAAD victim who was murdered in February, say they are existing “in a city of fear”.
Derry-based John Lindsay, author of “No Dope Here”, a new book on the violence, who has shown his research to the Guardian, said: “On average there are about four young men being forced out of the city by RAAD and other vigilante groups per week.
“The figures are being recorded by at least two community groups who are called into liaise between the organisations and the men.
“There are, on a conservative basis, more than 200 who were put out of Derry over the last 12 months. They are going to places as diverse as Belfast, Armagh, Dublin and of course England, anywhere where they have friends or relatives to flee to. And they are told if they don’t leave they will be shot or even killed.”
The vigilante campaign turned murderous last February when RAAD gunmen shot dead a former Derry boxer, Andrew Allen, 24, just across the border in a relative’s house in Co Donegal. His family say hardline republicans were so affronted when he stood up to them that they decided to kill him. Allen’s mother, Donna Smith, said the peace process no longer meant anything to her or her family.
“How can they call this the City of Culture when they (RAAD) are going around butchering children? Something has to be done, it has to be stopped before another family is sitting in the situation that we are in: me without a son, my other children without a brother and two small children without a father.”
There have been several demonstrations against the attacks, including one last month. Just before, an 18-year-old was shot in both legs.
Although some RAAD members are ex-IRA members who supported the end of its “war” against Britain and declined to join the anti-peace process Real IRA, McGuinness has issued his sternest condemnation yet of the vigilante campaign.
He said: “I think it is quite obvious the community is beginning to rise up against this and as a result of that it is quite clear that RAAD are about to make the biggest mistake of their lives. They are about to bite off more than they can chew because if the community in Derry turns against you then you are going absolutely nowhere.
“And I think they (RAAD) do need to be going somewhere and they need to be going to prison. And I would hope as a result of the rise in opposition to the activities of RAAD that people will come forward to give all the information they have about this group.”
McGuinness, the Provisional IRA’s second-in-command in the city on Bloody Sunday, described the republican vigilantes as “the new oppressors of the people of Derry”.
The police have vowed to prosecute those responsible. However, there have been no prosecutions for the “punishment” attacks” and no one has been charged in connection with Allen’s murder.
4 May 2012
Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood, has hit out at the RAAD statement that “no amount of protest” will stop their activities.
Mr Eastwood rebutted this by saying RAAD should get the message that no amount of bullets or bullies could solve the drugs problem in Derry or Ireland. He added that any cloak of republicanism should once and for all be discarded from the organisation, saying that the true Irish republican position believed in the authority and will of the Irish people.
RAAD, he said, had transparently revealed themselves as fascists, whose interest was not in addressing the problems of drug addiction, but in criminal gain.
He added that this city would not allow itself to descend into a scenario which has blighted communities south of the border, most notably in Limerick City.
Mr Eastwood last weekend spoke at a Guildhall Square rally in opposition to ongoing attacks by RAAD.
The former Mayor commented: “This statement is the most transparent indication of RAAD’s real agenda. They have no interest in the resolution of the problems of drug addiction which have an historical hold in this city and across Ireland.
“They have no concern or interest in the wishes of our community, discarding any semblance of the true nationalist and republican tradition on this island.
“In plain, they have exposed themselves as fascists who are using the serious problems of addiction for criminal gain.
“This city will not allow itself to regressively spiral into a scenario which has blighted communities in Limerick City. For be in no doubt, this is the inevitable destination if RAAD continue with their violent agenda.
“These organisations need more support to ensure that they reach into every community in this city. This is the solution to the corrosion caused by drugs.
“RAAD have nothing to offer, only further damage and death.”
6 April 2012
Gardai have arrested a man in his 50s in connection with the murder of Derry man Andrew Allen in February.
Mr Allen, a father-of-two from the Waterside area of the city, was shot dead in his home in Buncrana in front of his girlfriend.
He was the first person to be murdered by the vigilante group, Republican Action Against Drugs whose unsubstantiated claims he was a drug dealer were vociferously rejected by his family and prompted public protest rallies in the city.
It is believed the man arrested today is from Northern Ireland and that he is being held at Buncrana Garda Station.
4 Apr 2012
An eight-year-old girl narrowly escaped injury when a man was shot in front of her by the vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs, at her family’s home in Strabane.
The little girl was inside the house in Carlon Drive in the Ballycolman Estate when the masked gang broke in shortly before 10.30pm on Tuesday.
Their target was a 26-year-old man – but the presence of the youngster did not prevent the gang from brutally beating and shooting their victim in the living room in front of the girl and her mother.
“One man pulled out an iron bar and went to strike him on the head with it,” local community worker Andy Gallagher told UTV.
“He blocked it with his arm but got hit on the nose. Then they dragged him to the floor and produced a gun and shot him in one of the knees.
“They seem to target people in working class areas and they have achieved absolutely nothing, nothing that can move forward and stop antisocial behaviour.”
–Andy Gallagher, community worker
“They went to shoot him in the other knee but the gun failed to go off.”
The man is being treated in hospital for injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening. It is understood his girlfriend and child have been left severely traumatised by their ordeal.
Police said the gunmen fled in a red car. A short distance away on the outskirts of the town a car was found burnt out – detectives believe it was used in the attack.
Cordons were erected as officers searched the area where the car was found for evidence.
It is believed the gang had tape masks over their faces and wore plastic coverings on their feet, in what seems to be an effort to reduce the amount of forensic evidence left behind.
Area Commander Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said: “No right thinking individual can condone someone taking the law into their own hands irrespective of what the perceived motive here was.
“Nothing justifies shooting a young man in his home whilst his girlfriend and young daughter are present and I would condemn such violence.”
People living in the area suspected the attack bore all the hallmarks of RAAD – and the grouping later admitted responsibility to a local paper.
“It is shocking to know incidents like this continue to happen,” Mr Gallagher continued. “This is not the way to deal with it.”
SDLP Strabane Councillor Patsy Kelly has condemned those responsible for what he has described as “a punishment-type shooting.”
Cllr Kelly said: “This is an appalling attack on a man in his family home in front of his girlfriend and young child.
“No child should ever be subjected to this type of violence and I hope that she is given help to try and recover from this traumatic experience.”
Ross Hussey, West Tyrone UUP MLA, said there was no justification for the attack.
He added: “This type of activity was part of Northern Ireland’s past, and the people of Strabane and the rest of West Tyrone want it left there.”
Police said someone could easily have been killed by the gunmen. They have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
16 Mar 2012
Hundreds of mothers wearing white will form a human chain across Derry’s Peace Bridge in a silent protest against Republican Action Against Drugs today.
A core group of mothers have formed a new organisation called MOVE ON — Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere in Our Neighbourhoods — and are using Mother’s Day weekend to launch their first public event but they will also patrol the streets where RAAD is active.
The protest is the third rally sparked after the vigilante group ordered the parents of four young men to bring their sons to a designated area in the town to be shot because they were allegedly involved in a fracas outside a bar with members of RAAD.
That followed the fatal shooting of Derry man Andy Allen in Co Donegal.
One of the founder members of MOVE ON, Bronach McMonagle, said the women of Derry have historically played a vital role in bringing about change in the city.
She said: “This new group came about because of the increasing bully-boy antics of RAAD who thought it was acceptable to give four mothers an appointed time and location to bring their sons to so that they could be shot.
“What does it say about the direction our society is going when mothers are told this by gun-toting bullies?
“We are not going let them do this — no one has that authority.
“The rally held in Creggan last week and the follow-up rally in the Guildhall Square against RAAD showed the strength of feeling there is against them in the city and we didn’t want to lose that momentum which is why, given that it is Mother’s Day on Sunday, we hastily organised this rally across the Peace Bridge.”
She added: “We want as many people as possible to gather at the cityside end of the bridge, wearing a white t-shirt.
“We will link hands and just silently make our feelings known.
“We will release white balloons too but there will be no speeches and it won’t take more than half an hour.
“Like everyone else, the mothers of Derry have had enough of RAAD and once Friday’s protest is over it will not be the end of this organisation.
“There are alternative solutions to what RAAD say they are offering to deal with.
“There are funded organisations in place which help people with drug and alcohol problems but we will patrol our own streets too where we will engage with the young people.
“The mothers of Derry took to the streets before and brought about change and we will do it again, peacefully, the way it should be done.”
A link between Republican Action Against Drugs and the dissident Continuity IRA has recently emerged. Information obtained by the Belfast Telegraph showed the group has been trading weapons with the CIRA. Documents revealed it was behind the supply of a number of grenades to the dissidents in exchange for guns. A later swap of more grenades was made for ammunition. At least one of the grenades was used in an attack on police in west Belfast.
12 March 2012
The north’s Deputy First Minister has called on vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs to disband.
Martin McGuinness also called on RAAD to lift all threats against young people in Derry.
“RAAD have nothing at all to do with Irish Republicanism. As oppressors of the community in Derry they are anti-Republican. There is a groundswell of support in the city for RAAD to get off the backs of our community. That is now what needs to happen,” he says.
Mr McGuinness’s comments come only days after around 1000 people gathered in Derry’s Guildhall Square to call on the group to disband.
The public protest was organised by the ‘RAAD – Not In Our Name’ group and was attended by MLAs and councillors from both Sinn Fein and the SDLP.
“RAAD are a tiny group of people. They are not representative and are not accountable to anyone but themselves. They are driven entirely by ego not by any desire to tackle drug abuse in Derry or anywhere else,” Mr McGuinness says.
He says there is also a “very strong perception that some individuals associated with RAAD have profited financially from those involved in the drugs trade.”
Last week RAAD, who has also claimed responsibility for the murder in Buncrana of Derry man Andy Allen, issued threats against four young men in the city.
Two of the men were shot in the ankles in the Bogside on Thursday evening but a community worker associated with the Rosemount Community Centre revealed on Friday evening that the threat against the other two men had been lifted after negotiations.
The group has also claimed responsibility for the murder in Buncrana of Derry man Andy Allen.
“Shooting young people who have become addicted to drugs or threatening them from their homes does nothing to tackle this very serious issue. Indeed it makes the situation worse. In the most recent incident in Derry, RAAD shot two young people from a prominent Republican family who had no involvement at all in drugs,” the deputy First Minister says.
“Drug dealing can only be tackled through on one hand the PSNI taking decisive action against drug dealers and on the other through proper support for our young people who have become addicted to drugs.
“Those people who lead RAAD and who are well known in Derry need to understand that their activities make no positive contribution whatsoever to improving the lives of the people of Derry. In reality the opposite is the case.
“The necessity for a civilised and progressive approach to drugs and those affected by them is being undermined by the brutal, thuggish and bullying actions of those who use patriotic labels for their criminality. They need to issue a clear and definitive statement removing all of the threats they have issued and disband their group once and for all.”
9 March 2012
A public rally will be held in Derry tomorrow afternoon to call on vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) to disband.
The rally has been called following the shooting of two young men in the city on Wednesday night and the issuing of death threats against two others.
Cousins Ciaran and Sean McFadden were shot ‘by appointment’ in an alleyway close to Gartan Square in the Bogside at 11pm on Wednesday after being told to come to the area by RAAD.
Ciaran’s father, also called Ciaran, accompanied his son to Gartan Square and had to watch as he was shot. The former republican prisoner branded RAAD “bullies with guns” and claimed they are now targeting republicans.
The shooting came just hours after several hundred people gathered on Central Drive, Creggan, in protest against the death threats issued by RAAD and to call on the vigilante group to disband. The protest was organised by local women who were angry about their sons being targeted.
Tomorrow’s rally is being organised by the newly-formed ‘RAAD – Not in Our Name’ group and will be held in Guildhall Square at 3pm. Colm Bryce, a spokesperson for the group said; “There is outrage all across the city after two young men were shot on Wednesday night, despite hundreds of people attending a rally in Creggan that evening. That rally and the protest against the murder of Andy Allen have begun to lift the veil of silence and fear that RAAD relies on for their cowardly attacks.
“We need to continue that community pressure and demand that they disarm and disband. It’s time to say, enough is enough. We want an end to the murder, maiming and threats against young people in this city,” he said.
He also said the rally is an opportunity to send a message to the vigilantes. “RAAD have no right to attack people. We aim to show that they can’t claim, as they have tried to do in the past, that they are acting ‘on behalf of the community’. They never have. We are calling on RAAD to disarm and disband now,” he said.
8 Mar 2012
A vigilante group known as Republican Action Against Drugs is being blamed for shooting two men in Derry – just hours after hundreds attended a rally protesting against RAAD.
The two victims, who are teenage cousins, were summoned to Gartan Square in Derry’s Bogside at about 11pm on Wednesday night for what was essentially a punishment shooting by appointment.
They arrived knowing what was about to happen.
One young man was shot in both ankles, the other in one leg. Both were taken to hospital, where their conditions are not believed to be life-threatening.
The gun attack came in answer to a rally in the Creggan Estate, which was called after RAAD issued a threat against four young men – including the two who were later to become victims of the shooting.
The mother of another of those threatened said her family is living in fear.
“I’m afraid that they’re going to come through the door and I have children here,” she said.
“People are afraid to stand up – we all have to get together. This has to be sorted out.”
Local politicians have united condemning such vigilantism and have called for RAAD to disband.
The group recently admitted to being behind the murder of Andrew Allen – a 24-year-old father-of-two originally from the Waterside, who was shot dead in his home near Buncrana last month.
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney said, despite the group’s name, the actions of the vigilantes were nothing to do with either drugs or republicanism.
“This is about flexing muscles following an altercation between young people and individuals identified as having connections to these vigilantes,” he said.
“It is about intimidating the youth in our communities. We now have the situation where mothers are being asked to bring their sons to locations to be shot by appointment.
“Well, Derry mothers will not be intimidated and they sent a strong, clear message from the rally in Creggan on Wednesday night and the protest in the Top of the Hill last month following the murder of Andrew Allen.”
SDLP Foyle MLA Pat Ramsey has called for anyone with information to contact the police as a matter of urgency.
He added: “I cannot stress enough how fed up the people of Derry are with attacks like these and we will be tireless in our campaign against the thugs who carried out last night’s shootings.”
Investigating officers have appealed for witnesses to the shootings to come forward.
22 February 2012
A relative of murder victim Andrew Allen has described the wording of the claim of responsibility for the atrocity by vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) as a “tissue of lies” .
RAAD issued a statement on Wednesday morning claiming they had ‘executed’ the 24 year-old father of two at his home just outside Buncrana on February 9. The statement was issued to the Derry Journal using a recognised codeword.
The statement claimed that the organisation’s ‘Donegal unit’ carried out the killing and claimed that Mr Allen was a “career criminal”. They also stated that the victim had been warned to “cease his activities five to six months ago” and also claimed that the victim had used RAAD’s name to “scare other drug dealers and to extort money from weaker criminals” .
However, an uncle of the victim has dismissed RAAD’s statement.
William Allen said: “This tissue of lies is beneath contempt. I do not intend to give this gang any undeserved credibility by engaging them in public debate other than to say the propaganda peddled by these dealers in death could not have been repeated by the media had Andy not been murdered.
“None of the media outlets carrying these claims would have dared to do so had Andy been alive because of the very serious legal consequences.”
Mr Allen also reasserted previous comments that in the original warning from police about his life being in danger, at no point was RAAD or drugs mentioned.
William Allen said: “At a rally last Saturday in protest against Andy’s murder the press was shown a copy of the threat. If RAAD was the republican death squad behind this murder the questions remain about who instigated this atrocity and why.”
The murder of Andrew Allen is the first for which RAAD have claimed responsibility. The group also claimed that on the night of Mr Allen’s murder at his home in Links View, Lisfannon, they were forced to call off another attack in Derry because of increased PSNI activity in the city.
RAAD also said that an ‘amnesty’ to drug dealers was still on offer but those who do not avail of it would suffer the “ultimate sanction.”
22 Feb 2012
A group calling itself Republican Action Against Drugs, have said they murdered Derry man Andrew Allen in Buncrana, County Donegal.
Mr Allen, 24, from the “Top of the Hill” in the Waterside area, was shot at a house in Links View Park, Lisfannon on 9 February.
In a statement, RAAD said its Donegal unit shot Mr Allen whom they called a “death dealer” and “career criminal”.
The father of two was the first man to be murdered by RAAD.
But the group has been responsible for a series of punishment-style shootings in the Derry area.
In its statement released on Wednesday, RAAD said Mr Allen had been warned to “cease his activities five to six months ago” but had not done so.
RAAD also issued a threat against six other unnamed individuals and warned they would face “the ultimate sanction”.
The vigilante group claimed it was forced to call off a second attack on the night of the murder because of increased police activity in Derry.
Mr Allen was one of several men forced out of the city by RAAD last year.
Sinn Fein assembly member Raymond McCartney said the group should disband.
“Within hours of the murder it was widely accepted that this criminal gang masquerading as defenders of the community carried out this grusome act,” he said.
“The rationale being put forward by this gang for its existence is redundant and it has created nothing but grief in the community.
“Contrary to what this pseudo group claims there is no measurable support in the community for their actions.”
On the night of Mr Allen’s murder, three men went up to the house and fired a number of shots through a bedroom window.
Mr Allen had been living at the house for about six months. His partner was in the property when the shooting happened at 21:20 GMT, but was not injured.
A car was found burnt out a short distance away at Fahan shortly after the attack.
10 February 2012
DUBLIN – (AP) — Politicians blamed an Irish Republican Army splinter group Friday for killing a man on the run from a death threat, the first such killing attributed to a shadowy gang that specializes in intimidating alleged drug dealers.
Andrew “Chubby” Allen, 24, died Thursday night after a gunman on foot opened fire through a window of his home and struck the victim at least once in the head. Police said they found the attacker’s getaway car abandoned and torched on a roadside several miles (kilometers) away, but made no arrests.
Allen last year fled his Northern Ireland hometown of Derry after receiving death threats from Republican Action Against Drugs, an organization forged by former members of both the IRA and a rival group called the Irish National Liberation Army. Allen had recently resettled with his partner and two children 14 miles (23 kilometers) away in the seaside Republic of Ireland town of Buncrana, where he was killed.
Over the past three years Republican Action Against Drugs has targeted scores of people branded drug dealers, mostly in Derry. It has shot at least 17 men and teenage boys in the legs and arms and targeted two dozen homes and cars with pipe bombs, but Allen would be the group’s first fatal victim.
Republican Action Against Drugs issued no statement to confirm or deny its involvement. Catholic and Protestant politicians alike said they had no doubt that the group was responsible.
Jonathan Craig, a Northern Ireland lawmaker from the major Protestant-backed party, the Democratic Unionists, described the group as “a fanatical micro-group” that is determined to act “as judge, jury and executioner.”
Mark Durkan, the Catholic politician who represents Derry in the British Parliament, said the killers were trapped in a discredited IRA mindset and “the very worst of our past.”
Northern Ireland’s long-dominant faction, the Provisional IRA, officially disarmed and renounced violence in 2005, followed by the smaller Irish National Liberation Army in 2009. Tellingly, however, the INLA’s last official killing that year was of a prominent Londonderry drug dealer. Within weeks, attacks began to be claimed under the new nom de guerre of Republican Action Against Drugs.
Several IRA splinter groups still pursuing violence today all claim the right to shoot criminal rivals who operate in their Irish Catholic power bases. Such so-called “punishment” attacks rarely prove lethal and so attract little attention.
The Rev. Michael Canny, a Catholic priest who has tried to talk peace with Derry’s IRA die-hards, said death threats by Republican Action Against Drugs have obliged an estimated 37 men to flee the city since 2009, including 10 from Allen’s own neighborhood.
“RAAD now claim to be the city’s true law enforcers, just like the IRA in the bad old days. And they claim that in the absence of the IRA they’re obliged to continue this vigilante action. But nobody in their right minds wants this law of the jungle,” Canny said.
The wider security threat to Northern Ireland, meanwhile, was highlighted in a Belfast court Friday as a judge told an IRA dissident he must serve at least 25 years in prison for his role in killing two British soldiers on March 7, 2009.
Justice Anthony Hart said Brian Shivers, 46, and several other members of the Real IRA faction had tried that night “to kill as many soldiers and others as they could.”
Two gunmen opened fire on several off-duty, unarmed soldiers as they collected pizzas outside a British Army base in the town of Antrim. As the soldiers and two pizza couriers scrambled for cover, the gunmen shot them at close range on the ground. Two soldiers aged 21 and 23 were killed, while two other soldiers and both deliverymen were wounded.
Shivers was convicted of murder last month while another man was acquitted. The judge had postponed Shivers’ sentencing until Friday.
Friday 20 January 2012
Vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) has repeated its claim that its members were not involved in the arson attack on Seán Dolan’s GAA club and insisted it “won’t go away.”
In a statement, the group rejected claims made by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney in an article in Tuesday’s ‘Journal.’
In the article the Assemblyman called on RAAD to stop their activities and go away.
In response, the group said; “Mr McCartney begins his article by claiming that Martin McGuinness asked the Provos to cease kneecapping in the late 1980s, but they continued until as late as 2004. If they wouldn’t listen to Martin McGuinness why does Raymond McCartney think RAAD would care one iota for his opinion?” the statement said.
The group also said it is investigating the arson attacks at Seán Dolan’s and vowed to “punish” those responsible. “As regards the fire at Sean Dolan’s we would like to reiterate that we had no involvement in that incident and are actively investigating it. If we establish any individual or group was involved we will not hesitate to punish them.
“The action of Sinn Féin as regards the fire and subsequent investigation by the RUC are similar to the dark days of policing meted out to the people of Derry at the behest of unionists,” RAAD claimed.
The vigilante group also denied claims that it does not have popular support in local communities. “There is a further charge that RAAD carries out its actions to gain popularity within the community but RAAD is not involved in a popularity contest but, people need to realise that volunteers do not operate in a vacuum and that a large number of people store weapons, explosives, ammunition and vehicles. That is proof that RAAD has considerable support within the north west,” the statement said.
The armed group also claimed it operates an amnesty for anyone involved in the drugs trade. “RAAD has a long-standing amnesty in place which allows people involved in death dealing to cease their activities without recourse to violence,” it claimed.
RAAD also said that it has no plans to disband. “Raymond McCartney has to get it into his head that RAAD is here to stay and will stay as long as the community needs us. We haven’t gone away and won’t go away.”
2 Jan 2012
• Click the link below to view the CCTV footage
The Police Ombudsman’s has yet to receive an official complaint over Sinn Fein claims of a “cover up” following an arson attack which gutted a Derry GAA club.
The police were forced into an embarrassing u-turn after wrongly stating that the fire at Sean Dolan’s in the early hours of Wednesday was not suspicious. The reversal of the decision came after Sinn Fein representatives asked G District Superintendent Chris Yates to view CCTV footage which had earlier been investigated by his officers. The footage shows shadowy figures moving at a window seconds before several flashes which were later followed by flames.
Sinn Fein Assemblyman Raymond McCartney – who believes elements of the vigilante group RAAD were behind the arson attack – said the police handling of the incident fuelled concerns over the PSNI’s alleged use of “agents and agent provocateurs with immunity”. “We will be saying to the PSNI that they need to prove to us that this isn’t a cover up. Incompetence can happen in any organisation but not only is this gross incompetence but it’s impossible to believe that any person, let alone trained investigators, can say this footage isn’t suspicious.”
Sean Dolan’s treasurer Jim McDaid said the club may call in the police ombudsman to investigate the PSNI’s actions.
However, a spokesman for Al Hutchinson’s office told the ‘Sunday Journal’ last night: “We have not received any official complaint about the matter, although we are aware of the incident.”
A PSNI spokesperson confirmed that “a senior officer will review every action taken by police from the first call received about the fire, evidence taken, CCTV footage viewed and lines of inquiry followed up by the investigating officers”.
Meanwhile, in a statement from RAAD’s leadership, the vigilante group rejected the allegation that it was behind the attack on the Creggan GAA club as “scandalous and unfounded”.
“This is not the first time they [Sinn Fein] have publicly blamed us for different attacks that in time has proved that we were not involved with,” the statement added.