Priest blasts ‘warped justice’

Fr. Michael Canny, Adm, St. Eugene's. (0403C44)
Fr. Michael Canny, Adm, St. Eugene's. (0403C44)

A Derry priest has launched a scathing broadside on vigilantes who have threatened to ‘execute’ young people in the city.

Rev. Michael Canny, PP, Waterside, says such groups are a throwback to the worst days of the ‘Troubles’ when paramilitaries used “intimidation and threats” in a bid to “rid their communities of anti-social behaviour”.

“Excluding people from their communities and, in many cases, their country didn’t solve our problems then and certainly won’t solve them now,” he says.

Rev. Canny adds that “self-appointed judges, juries and executioners have no place in any civilised society”.

His comments coincide with a number of local people coming forward and claiming to be under paramilitary death threat.

Derry’s Peace and Reconciliation Group says the number of people under threat has risen to 38.

The peace group says the vigilante group, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD), and the Real IRA are behind most of the intimidation.

Writing in today’s ‘Journal’, Rev. Canny challenges these groups to consider if their threats have “resulted in less illegal drugs being sold and used in our city.”

“The answer is clear,” he says. “Their attempts to put so-called drug dealers out of town have had no impact on drug use. As long as people need and use drugs, suppliers will make them available.”

Rev. Canny says the “actions or inaction” of people can “provide fertile soil for self-appointed groups to grow and flourish.”

“When criminal or anti-social behaviour takes place, all should report the incidents to the police rather than going to someone, who then goes to someone else, with a view to exacting justice,” he adds.