The actions and history of the self-proclaimed “non-political” Republican Action Against Drugs demonstrates clearly the downward spiral that afflicts unaccountable, self-appointed moral guardians who seek to act as judge, jury and executioner in society.
Without going into the whys and whataboutery that often accompanies comment on RAAD, I would like to ask readers one simple question. What would our response be if the PSNI / RUC were busy killing, maiming, kidnapping, torturing, exiling and beating the youth of Derry for their alleged involvement in drugs or anti-social behaviour?
Just as those of us concerned with human rights are outraged at the treatment of Marion Price, incarcerated on the private whim of a Tory Minister, so to we are outraged at the Star Chamber unaccountable brand of “justice” being delivered by RAAD.
A group that claims to have been established to protect their community is now engaged in attacking that same community.
RAAD shootings and attacks have, we are being told, now extended from responding to the drugs’ trade into responding to domestic violence, anti-social behaviour and criminality.
It is clear that in order to justify its continued existence RAAD and its members are constantly spreading the net of legitimate targets.
Who next will appear on this list? Elected representatives who oppose them, community activists who challenge them or innocent young people who protest against them?
Instead of bringing their vigilante actions into our community RAAD would be far better engaged creating the space for those charged with dealing with the drugs problem, the PSNI, to actually do their job and empowering those tasked with making sure the PSNI are doing their job, the elected representatives of more than 90% of the people of Derry, to make this happen.
In recent statements RAAD have referred to the PSNI as the RUC, clearly a political statement, and have extended their operations into Donegal, where the vast majority of citizens support the Guards and work with them. Sadly what all this suggests to me is that RAAD are not sincere in their stated aim of only wanting to see the drugs’ issue tackled. Instead they are more concerned with ensuring their own continued existence and whatever warped sense of power or esteem this gives them.
When any group loses sight of why it was established, it is time for it to go away.
(name and address supplied)