“I don’t think this generation is any different than the last…”

The Guardian’s Henry McDonald reports from anarchic Londonderry on the continuing activities of vigilante group, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD).  Watch the accompanying video report here.  From the Guardian report

Some RAAD members are ex-Provisionals who back the peace process but still take up the gun against members of their own communities accused of antisocial activities. Others connected to RAAD have joined organisations such as the Real IRA, which is also running a campaign of terror attacks against police officers, security installations and even high-street banks in Derry.

Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Féin MP, secret IRA negotiator with MI5 in talks leading to the Provisionals’ 1994 ceasefire and Northern Ireland‘s deputy first minister, has now taken a very public stand against some of his former comrades. In an interview with the Guardian just 24 hours after a young man turned up for an “appointment” to be shot, McGuinness called on his fellow Derry citizens to hand over information about RAAD to the police – a call in the past that could have cost a republican their life.

Behind the claims of popular demand for short-circuit, rough Taliban-style “justice” there is a wider political power-play going on in Derry between those republicans in Sinn Féin who support the power-sharing settlement in Northern Ireland, and those who oppose it and see the peace process as a “sell-out”. The huge numbers of men being shot or expelled from the city where the Troubles began in 1969 is a direct challenge to the authority of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the power-sharing executive at Stormont.

In response to the latest round of shootings Matt Baggott, the PSNI’s chief constable, promised the body that scrutinises his force – the Northern Ireland Policing Board – that his officers would bring those behind the vigilante terror campaign to justice.

So far no one has been charged over the killing of Andrew Allen. So far no one has been jailed over a single “punishment” attack or beating that has taken place in Derry in the past 12 months.

Read the whole thing.

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  • Rory Carr

    Matt Baggott… promised… that his officers would bring those behind the vigilante terror campaign to justice.

    Hope he did not also promise that he expected his success rate in this endeavour to be on a par with the PSNI’s (or indeed any Western police force’s) success in dealing with the drug problem itself.

    Indeed if he were to be successful then his force which has signally failed in its attempts (or lack thereof) to cope with drug trafficking and all the social ills that spring therefrom might find themselves in the curius position of being capable only of arresting those men who at least seemed willing, and even capable, of dealing with a criminal scourge that the police themselves are incapable (some, including myself, think, unwilling) of dealing with.

  • andnowwhat

    Rory is right. Those of us from within less salubrious are under no illusion about the PSNI’s unwillingness to deal with the drug and other issues. From current personal experience, I know for a fact that they are aware of the dealers in my area, who are known to all and sundry and are very obvious. The only issue is that, as we saw a couple of years ago, going for them would bring on a riot.

    What’s odd is that I am talking about loyalists, the guys who are discretely under the radar (yeah, right!!!) but who were, as I alluded to earlier, defended by their community when the police tried to raid drug dealers in the Cloughfern area.. Kinda puts RAAD on a higher moral level.

    Just today we had another Keystone Cops episode in relation to the manslaugter of a pensioner in Lisburn http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18055567 with 7 officers suspended. Reading the article, it’s a wonder the cops haven’t been sacked but maybe, the crapper the leader, the crapper the pack?

  • Harry Flashman

    When did McCann adopt the Gary Glitter look? What happened to the afro?

  • Rory Carr

    I think the problem is, Harry, that while the Afro remained bushy as ever in your mind’s eye, McCann aged along with the rest of us in the last quarter of a century or more since you have obviously have had sight of him.

  • jthree

    ‘A front-page report about “punishment” attacks by Republican vigilantes in Derry said at least 85 men had been shot over the past year, according to police figures. That was the total for shootings over three years, not one, and the figures were provided by community groups researching the vigilante violence rather than the police’



  • Mick Fealty


    To be fair, Pete hasn’t linked to the article that correction was aimed at… He linked to a report by McDonald that’s kicked up quite a bit of interest on Radio Four this morning…

    There’s a useful item on the Today programme today: “My son had to be shot”…


    Are we seeing this kind organised punishments anywhere else in the UK or Ireland?

  • BIGK

    This generation is no different than the last and the next will not be either. Obviously something is wrong or can people not see this. A police force that is not acceptable to all the people will not work. The PSNI have some very honerable members from both communities but police in this part of Ireland have a lot of baggage which will take quite a few generations to wear off. This is the fact. The vigilantes have the support of the people or they wouldnt survive one week,and the likes of McGuinness sounding more like a British secretary of state quite frankly doesn’t help. British rules and rulers never worked in Ireland nor never will. But maybe that is still the plan devide and conquer.

  • Mick Fealty

    What would help?

  • carl marks

    In the village near me a drug dealer operated with what seemed like immunity.
    He didn’t seem to be concerned about the police, a constant stream of cars called to his house youths stoned out of their heads made the estate that he lived on no go area for people at night.
    One very brave lady (a neighbour of his) had words with him her house was attacked, her car set on fire and graffiti appeared on walls telling her to get out of town.
    The police done squat not even a extra patrol in the area, a community watch group was set up and local people patrolled the area, groups of youths were approached by adults and if local their parents were told what was happening, those in cars had the number plates photographed. the police then turned up and told neighbourhood watch to stop this they were politely told to either do something about the dealers of piss off ,they pissed off.
    Within two months the dealer had moved house (assisted by the NIHE ) and the area became fit for people to live in.
    The moral of the story I’m not sure but it would seem that the police either are not willing or do not have the tools to handle this problem, and it would also seem that it can be handled by the community without guns or hurls.

  • “negotiator with MI5 in talks leading to the Provisionals’ 1994 ceasefire”

    Is there any evidence that Martin dealt with MI5? I’ve seen reports that he talked with MI6’s Michael Oatley and with the boss of MI6 at the time, Douglas Hurd [scribd].

    “I don’t think this generation is any different than the last”

    It would be a little surprising if it was. Fifty years ago, republicans sought to bring about a 32-county state – under the cover of rights issues [search above scribd link with ‘comain’ and ‘garland’]. The 32-county state is still not in place so there will be a new generation of republicans trying to advance the cause; Martin may have flipped but others will soldier on.

    “see the peace process as a “sell-out””

    A reverse flip has taken place in Moyle Council with an Independent Republican, Colum Thompson, joining Sinn Féin. SF had dropped to three female councillors; SF takes the chair in 2013 and vice-chair in 2014 so the joke is, “Will a lady give up her seat for a gentleman?” 🙂

  • tacapall


    “In the early hours of last Saturday morning McCartan was found nailed to wooden posts in a lane behind the Seymour Hill estate. Two rusty six-inch nails were driven though his hands and he had been beaten about the legs and face.

    Locals point out that Seymour Hill is not an archetypal sink estate: there is a waiting list of people wanting to move to the area; 80 per cent of the houses are owner occupied. They claim almost all of the crime is imported, principally from nearby Catholic west Belfast.

    Everyone in the area who spoke to The Observer said the victim of last weekend’s crucifixion had it coming to him. Mary Ingram, a pensioner who works part time at the local Tesco, said Seymour Hill had become ‘plagued by joyriders. I think what happened to him was terrible but people in this area are angry. Every weekend their lives are tortured by the joyriders. You will not find much sympathy for him around here.’

    When it comes to barbarity, its clear that its supported by both communities. Whenever residents feel the PSNI are unwilling or unable to act they go elsewhere for protection.

  • Mick Fealty

    Quite. You did not need to go that far back to fetch up an example.

  • “Whenever residents feel the PSNI are unwilling or unable to act they go elsewhere for protection.”

    tacapall, when it comes to certain misdemeanours, some citizens like a ‘quick fix’. The official justice system is often very slow and, sometimes, almost completely ineffectual. Even pillars of the community have been known to go ‘direct’ to have certain problems resolved when they feel the official route is a waste of everyone’s time.