R.A.A.D. all about it!

Republican Action Against Drugs have been engaging in something of a PR drive in Strabane of late. The group, which claims to target drug dealers in republican areas has been mainly active in the north-west (i.e. Derry and Strabane) since last year, but have also claimed responsibility for a recent shooting in Newry.

During election week at the start of May, the group released this photo to Strabane Chronicle journalist Conor Sharkey. It shows gunmen saluting dead RAAD member Roger McLaughlin. McLaughlin was arrested in connection a punishment shooting of a young man in Lisfin Park in the town in April. The RAAD member later took his own life.

The renegade punishment squad have stepped up their campaign against individuals they label as drug dealers in Strabane. They have claimed responsibility for a number of shootings, beating, arson and pipe bomb attacks. Their latest activity however involved another image released to the local media during the week.

The photo (seen above) handed over to the Strabane Chronicle on a digital memory card depicts 5 members of the group in full paramilitary regalia armed with AK47 rifles. They are standing around a hooded figure with his hands bound and dressed in a boiler suit. In the modern age the image immediately draws parallels to the Abu Ghraib style ‘mock execution’ photos that caused so much international revulsion back in 2004.

RAAD claim the man is a drug dealer who handed himself along with his drug wares over to the group in response for leniency. The supposed drug haul is pictured on a table alongside weaponry and ammunition. RAAD claim to have handed the drugs over to a local community worker and released the man unharmed, but they have issued a warning that they have a list of 12 alleged drug dealers in Strabane who they will be targeting.

Republicanism in Strabane has become something of a confusing Pythonesque parody of late with RAAD, RDA (Republican Defence Association), RDA (Republican Defence Army), OnH (Óglaigh na hÉireann), along with the remnants of the PIRA and INLA imposing their presence on the area.

The fact that a story appeared in the Newry Democrat last week where a source is quoted as claiming RAAD are DAAD (Direct Action Against Drugs) “reborn” has only confused matters further. That story, along with claims from some locals has fuelled speculation connecting RAAD with ex-provisional IRA members, who are still in the pro-GFA camp, rather than members of any dissident republican faction.

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  • lamhdearg

    Are these guys real anti drugs, Or just anti someone else selling drugs, As in they want it all for them?

  • RepublicanStones

    Sounds like a name Bill and Ted would come up with !

  • al

    Your man on the left obviously doesn’t know how to pull the paramilitary pose, he should learn from the man on the right.

    What’s wrong with the IRA did that name become old or something?

  • al

    On a serious note however these groups should not be supported at all. Communities are disgusted at the plight caused by drugs and whilst these men in balaclavas are clearing the streets now. I’m sure they are targetting dealers much more effectively than the police ever would or could but at the end of the day where there is demand there is supply and RAAD or whatever they fancy calling themselves will be the ones to monopolise the drugs trade again.

    They never were a group who liked competition.

  • Dan

    Well if they really, truely cared about the community they’d pass the info on to the police and volunteer in the area. In reality the only reason they could possibly be doing it is they want the drugs for themselves and to eliminate the competition.

  • Barry

    These scumbags have no support whatsoever. And is there really 12 drug dealers in Strabane, I doubt it.

    It’s worrying that these imbasiles can get their hands on guns and that as well

  • Curious

    I’m curious too that there’s no £s on the table or did the £s go into the back pockets for their industrial wages. It is well known that this gang taxes the big dealers which sounds credible given the fact that to date only small time dealers have been targeted. Let’s hope these other drug dealing gangs don’t arm themselves in response to RAAD as all these clowns will have succeeded in accomplishing is scenarios similar to Dublin and Limerick.

  • joeCanuck

    Strabane has been plagued for a number of years by these self appointed “defenders”. Particularly the INLA, aided and abetted by the ISRP or whatever they call themselves. A bunch of stinking pigs by any other name would smell as foul. (with apologies to William).

  • to mr joecanuck

    to joecanuck as you call yourself,as a matter of fact there has been more punishment shooting and beating carried out in the strabane area by pro pira than anyone else,and as a matter of fact even the dogs in the street know that these people in the strabane area one of the whom is a rapist are the very same people that are in this group calling themself raad,the so called drug dealers they are hitting in the area,are very low down the drug chain and some of them not even in to drugs they are shooting drug users not dealers,,and they are doing nothing to hurt drug dealers at all ,alot of these shootings and pipe bomb attacks are a direct result of personal vendettas as a matter of fact i would go as far as to say that mi5 would be pulling there strings,as for your anti irp stance i would even say you my friend are what we would call a dodgy guy,,,um i wonder who is pulling your strings

  • Which is Worse

    Ok so i get the principle of protecting the community from drugs, but arent they ignoring the most dangerous drug of all in this conquest to clean up our streets.

    Worse still is the fact that this drug is on tap and on sale abundantly and causes more grievance, injury and death than all the other drugs combined.

    RAAD why arent you shooting vendors of all drugs that can be misused?

    I know of many people who have abused Prescription drugs and alcohol, People get bottled and glassed in the face due to alcohol and its effects, people get brutalised for no significant reason due to the intoxication of others.

    And yet you wage this war on “drugs” with some pretense of protecting the community. You and your ilk should be sterilised and removed from this country.

    The real protecting of the community and its children will come when we acknowledge that the problem is prohibition.

    It has brought us the joys of RAAD shooting innocents, criminal activity brought to communities using drugs to fund their efforts. If there is an established legalised system the government or private sector can easily price them out of the market. This would drastically reduce the amount of arms the criminal gangs and groups would be able to afford as well as allowing for the monitoring and controlling of the quality and strengths of drugs made available to the public.

    If there is a market for a product, no matter how many dealers you shoot another will take their place.

    We have had enough guns now put them away.

  • strabane man

    they do not want the drugs for themselves or to eliminate competition. they just dont want drugs in the town, and are doing a good job so far. they are also against paedophiles and people that could harm community and are supported by the local people

  • eoin mc cay

    joe cunuck is right..the inla terrorised strabane for years…the last 2 lads wer shot in strabane have conections to the inla…wonder whos pulling the dealers strings…even the dogs on the street no that…i dont think myself its an anti irp agenda just the community trying to get rid of dealers….its funny how 2 irsp members both found pipes bombs at there community huts…..

  • Strabane21

    What does it matter what way the man on the left standing, it isnt a photo shoot! these men are cleaning up strabane, they are the only ones doing something about the drugs in strabane, theyve done more in the last while than the police have in ages!