‘We won’t go away’ - RAAD

Vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) has repeated its claim that its members were not involved in the arson attack on Seán Dolan’s GAA club and insisted it “won’t go away.”

In a statement, the group rejected claims made by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney in an article in Tuesday’s ‘Journal.’

In the article the Assemblyman called on RAAD to stop their activities and go away.

In response, the group said; “Mr McCartney begins his article by claiming that Martin McGuinness asked the Provos to cease kneecapping in the late 1980s, but they continued until as late as 2004. If they wouldn’t listen to Martin McGuinness why does Raymond McCartney think RAAD would care one iota for his opinion?” the statement said.

The group also said it is investigating the arson attacks at Seán Dolan’s and vowed to “punish” those responsible. “As regards the fire at Sean Dolan’s we would like to reiterate that we had no involvement in that incident and are actively investigating it. If we establish any individual or group was involved we will not hesitate to punish them.

“The action of Sinn Féin as regards the fire and subsequent investigation by the RUC are similar to the dark days of policing meted out to the people of Derry at the behest of unionists,” RAAD claimed.

The vigilante group also denied claims that it does not have popular support in local communities. “There is a further charge that RAAD carries out its actions to gain popularity within the community but RAAD is not involved in a popularity contest but, people need to realise that volunteers do not operate in a vacuum and that a large number of people store weapons, explosives, ammunition and vehicles. That is proof that RAAD has considerable support within the north west,” the statement said.

The armed group also claimed it operates an amnesty for anyone involved in the drugs trade. “RAAD has a long-standing amnesty in place which allows people involved in death dealing to cease their activities without recourse to violence,” it claimed.

RAAD also said that it has no plans to disband. “Raymond McCartney has to get it into his head that RAAD is here to stay and will stay as long as the community needs us. We haven’t gone away and won’t go away.”