The widow of an IRA man shot dead by the SAS has accused vigilante group RAAD of “acting like the Nazi secret police” after they issued a death threat against her son.
Rosemary McBrearty said RAAD ordered her son, Kevin, out of Derry after he made disparaging comments about the armed groups in a bar at the weekend.
The Creggan mother condemned the threat and called for it to be lifted immediately.
She explained that two of her sons. Kevin and Stephen, had been ordered out of Derry by RAAD last September but were allowed to return at Easter.
Explaining how the recent threat came about, Mrs McBrearty said; “Two of my sons, Kevin and Thomas, were out in a bar last weekend with others and the conversation turned to RAAD. My boys made it clear what they thought of them and someone carried this conversation back to RAAD and on Monday morning we were told that if Kevin was not out of Derry by midnight that night he would be shot,” she said.
Mrs McBrearty said her family will defy the threat and that he son is not leaving again. “He’s not going. While he was away last time his granny died and he was only allowed back for 24 hours and had to be escorted to and from the airport. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to them so we decided that Kevin is not going this time. I just couldn’t take him going away again,” she said.
The Creggan woman said she is aware of the risk her son is taking by remaining in the city. “I feared for them last time and that is why they went away but it is time to stand up to these bully boys. I know they will act on this threat but we, as a family, are confident that there is support in this community to stand up to RAAD,” she said.
Condemning the vigilante group, Mrs McBrearty said; “They are acting like the Nazi secret police. They are trying to rule Creggan. All my son did was criticise them in a conversation. It seems that RAAD are not allowing people to have opinions anymore. They call themselves republicans but what is republican about that? We have been republicans all our lives. My husband George was shot dead on active service,” she explained.
She also added that if people are going to be exiled for criticising RAAD then hundreds will have to leave Derry. “There will not be enough cars, planes, boats, or buses to take everyone who has criticised RAAD out of Derry. Why have they targeted my son when so many others have said the same sort of things?,” she asked.
Creggan community leader Tony O’Doherty said the local community are behind the McBrearty family. “We are supporting Rosemary. We want to see this threat lifted. If dialogue is what is needed to resolve this then this community has never been found wanting,” he said.
Community workers Seamus Heaney said; “RAAD need to ask themselves if this is what they set out to do when they set up. If it is then this community does not need them,” he said.
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney also called for the threat to be lifted and for RAAD to disband. “Any organisation which takes the law into its own hands needs to disband and desist immediately,” he said.