City of Fear Spotlight

City of Fear

Stephen Dempster investigates the actions of Derry's self-styled vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs, as it prepares to become City of Culture next year.

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Turmoil on the streets of Londonderry. A battle that is


creating a new threat to the police. And a trail of victims whose lives


have been shattered. He fell to the floor. I couldn't feel my legs.


brutal impact of vigilantes today. We challenge the gunmen themselves.


They tell spoth spot They have to understand this, is terrible.


What's going on in Derry at the moment is absolutely disgrace.


Parts of this city are in the grip of fear. For four years, Derry's


estates are plagued by a vigilante group, in February, this year, they


claimed their first murder Vic dim. Andrew Allen was a 20-year-old


father of two from the Waterside area. He was on the radar of


republic and vigilantes for some time. Then one night in February,


this year, Andrew's enemies tracked him down to bun drana, where he was


living with his girlfriend Arlene. Arlene has never spoken publicly


before what happened that evening. We were lying in the bed, he was


playing the PlayStation, next hear I heard Big Bangs, I didn't know


what it was. The Big Bangs again, when I got out, I looked out the


window and there's this fellas, kicking and kicking at the door,


but I seen the gun. I said to Andi, there's a fella at the door with a


gun. He jumped out of bed, I was over beside the bedroom door, and


he shouted out to me to phone the guards. I had to run back to my


locker to get the phone, just as I was running back to the bedroom


door, the fella was kicking at the door. The next thing I looked over


and I heard a smash and shots being And a... He fell to the floor. He


shouted at me "Arlene I can't feel my legs". I phoned the guards, and


there was blood he was where. So, he slid eever beside me. I phoned


the guards. I was shouting for help. I was trying to hold his head out


because the blood was coming out. I tried and tried, I couldn't get him


over on his back. Arlene ran to get help from a neighbour. They came


over running with me And the man helped me get a hand on his back. I


started giving him CPR. But I knew, because I had to pull


the blood out of his mouth and away from his nose. I tried for as long


Minutes later, Andrew's mother, Donna had learnt what had happened.


I was sitting watching television and I got a phone call from my


sister to say that Andrew had been shot and within minutes she rang me


back to say they can't get a pulse, that Andrew's dead. I was here, and


I just fell to the ground. weeks later the killers reveal


themselves. RAAD said they had killed Andrew because he was a drug


dealer. Andrew was no big time drug dealer, Andrew never had a penny,


he was always borrowing money off people. Donna says Andrew was an


innocent victim. Taken from his family in cold blood. REPORTER: Can


you explain what it is like to have that taken away from your family?


Devastation. Complete devastation. So it is.


Like I've lost a son, and they've lost a brother and my two


grandchildren, they've lost their father now, they have to go the


rest of their life now without their father. When you hear your


grandson saying, he's six, to say that, he misses his daddy, and why


did these bad men do this. I have no answer for that, because I don't


know why. Andrew's family say they know who killed them. Everybody


knows who done it, the guards know who has done it, the PSNI knows who


done it. But four months later, the killers have still not been caught.


I don't know how they sleep at night. They have no conscience, and


the people... They've wives, you know what I mean like, and they've


mothers as well. They've got to understand, that this, this is


terrible, what's going on in Derry at the moment is absolutely a


disgrey. Since their formation, four years ago, RAAD have carried


out dozens of shootings and beatings, but Andrew Allen was the


first murder, it brought crowds on to the city, calling on RAAD to


stop. But RAAD responded with defiance. Within a month the group


unleashed a new form of ruthlessness, forcing parents to


participate of the shooting of their own parents. I'm still


stressed over it, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Ciaran


McFadden says his son and nephew Sean were among a group who got


into a fight with a well known RAAD member. A few days later, RAAD


presented Ciaran and his family with an appalling dilemma. I got


the message to be sent to my conto Creggan to get shot. And between


that, Sean was sent word through a third party, that if he didn't


present himself, that he would be shot. Ciaran is a former member of


the provisional member of the IRA and a well known figure. But for


him and his family, it seemed the only option was to meet the demand.


If.I said come and get him, they would have put a pipe bomb under my


car, or under my wife, killed my wife, me, my Sean or anybody


visiting. Word spread throughout the Creggan,


that RAAD were ordering parents to bring their parents to be shot.


That evening, people in the city again rallied in an effort to stop


the shootings. We are here for dissency and justice and peace. We


want to say no to RAAD. This expression of public anger, didn't


stop RAAD. We were sitting, a knock came to the door, about 10.30pm,


last man, take your son to the back of the garden square. The back of


my head, maybe they're going to scare him. I really thought this.


So I said do you really want to do this. He said let get it over and


done with. At 11pm, Ciaran brought his son a back street area in


Derry's Bogside. His cousin Sean was already there. Ciaran agreed to


show us what happened next. This is where Ciaran was sat and cousin


Sean. I was here for 15-20 minutes, I saw a guy stick his head. I


walked down, and I said guys, get this over and done with. They ran


past me, Ciaran was standing here, against the rail ilgs, Sean was


standing a few feet away. They came up behind, shot Ciaran in the left


calf and shot Sean twice in the ankles. Sean came through, no great


damage, and Ciaran is left with bullet wound in his calf. How far


were you. A few feet away. Towards the square, walking towards them on


the phone for an ambulance. So you literally phone the ambulance while


they're being shot? Yeah. Is that not crazy? It is crazy, but we live


in a crazy society. Do you know who they are is this I know. Two months


later, Ciaran and his family are tormented by the decision. How can


a father stand here and see his son getting shot. It is eating me away.


People ask me why didn't I go to the police. We don't live in a


normal society. I could have gone to the police, I could be burnt,


blew up, living in fear, I don't want to live like that. City of


culture, city of fear! So, what effect is all this having on Derry


now. Sn The impact of RAAD on Derry, can't be underestimated. Since


we've been here, we've met young men and their families who are


living constantly in fear. One of them agreed to be interviewed. His


words are spoken by an actor to protect his identity. He's also


asked us not to use his real name. So we've called him John. Well I'm


under threat because I was dabbleling in a bit of drugs, it


was not major, I was making �100 a week, even to do it, to feed his


own habit. This brought John to the attention of RAAD now he is living


in fear, since threatened by the vigilantes. But John refuses to


leave Derry, and now lives in a permanent state of terror, waiting


for the moment when RAAD will attack. I've machetes, swords,


anything pointy on them, I move house, every three months, I'm


moving today actually. I have drop boards made up, alarms off police


from the door, keep the light up, sitting up until 4 or 5 in the


morning. John says living this way has left him mentallytor tuerd.


was going to kill myself, but I don't want to do that. I have two


kids. We spoke to his mother who didn't want to be identified.


not only what they're doing to the young fellas, they're doing the


families. They'retor tuerd mothers, at the minute, I'm one of them.


Like John, his mother spends each night in her home. I take my


medication in the morning, that calms me down. I have to wait to my


next fix before my hands stop shaking, my body stops shaking.


is clear that John's mother is also being terrorised by RAAD's threats.


My worst fear is they pull up near somewhere in a car, van, getting


him into it, taking him away andtor touring him and murdering him, and


throwing his body away so I don't have it. What I might say, I would


go and stand at the bottom of the grave and talk to my son, than they


put their hands on him. Everywhere you go, people are talking about


RAAD so who are they and what are police doing to tackle them? They


are led by two former Provisional IRA members of some standing, and


the organisation, exists, almost exclusively of form era are a


members, with some new recruit, who weren't involved in that


organisation. What size of membership have this


group? I don't think it is helpful for me to get into range of numbers.


But I assure you they are a small group. The pist pist may know who


they are, but - PSNI may know, but there are four murders. We haven't


been as good as we should have been, and I'm disappoint. We have,


currently another man before the court in relation to RAAD-relate


actively, but it is not good enough. So, we recognise that, and we


recognise we need to do more. means more money, more manpower,


and more resources. Including, a new appeal Ejiofor information.


have spoken to the Chief Constable personally at length around RAAD


and I can assure you we are going to do everything we can, as an


organisation, to tackle RAAD in the coming weeks and months. But we


will be more successful if the community give us the information


that I need. I would urge them, urge them, please for the sake of


your community and Derry, help us to make RAAD go away, and give us


that information. The police appear to be oping the -- uping the


offensive but help is low. It means many those under threat look


elsewhere for help. Most of the meet in the community centre,


called the Rose Mount resource centre. It secured funding from the


International Red Cross, for its work with threat victims. I went


there to meet the man for many of those in RAAD's hit list as their


only hope. Since we began regarding our statistics in June last year,


we've dealt with up until today, 112 cases, for the individuals


coming in it here, it is seriously stressful. They're really concerned,


they think that their family member is going to be shot or hurt,


certainly. Within hours. Hugh is no ordinary community workers, he is a


former member of the Provisional IRA, and several of RAAD's members


are his former comrades. It gives them a level of RAAD that few have.


Whenever we are contacted by somebody under threat, then we


would contact RAAD. You then deal directly with RAAD? Yeah. So how do


they rationalise, shooting people, and acting in what many people say


is a barbaric fashion? They rationalise it easy, they're saying


they're preventing these people selling drugs to children in our


community. That's how they rationalise it. The Mubarakity of


their actions, I don't think they rationalise at all. Hugh's contact


with RAAD makes his work controversial, some accused him and


the centre, of being too close to the group, and as acting as RAAD's


messenger. But he says his purpose is simple. Our soul function is to


shop those shootings. Where we are intervened and unsuccessful, we


would be angry at ourselves that maybe we could have done something


else, that may have persuaded RAAD to prevent the shooting. Brady's


work takes place behind the scenes. There are those that believe the


best way to respond to RAAD is to challenge the group publicly, and


directly. For three months, one group of women has been at the


forefront of this campaign. They call themselves Move On. They


agreed to meet me. How much support to RAAD were other groups who carry


on punishment attacks, how much support do they have? RAAD do not


have the support of the majority of people of our communities. They


don't have any type of following, that it shows any type of


credibility. The women of Move On aren't the only ones challenging


RAAD publicly. Attacking RAAD's credibility has been a tactic of


the police, inity battle for hearts and minds. Well, you know, I don't


see any big time drug dealers, being targeted by RAAD. This is a


criminal gang who brutalise and shoot people. If you fall out with


them in a pub or street, they'll exile you and order you out of the


city. Some people have been allow today return, only when they paid


thousands of pounds, sometimes to RAAD. Or, maybe, RAAD have taken


their motor vehicle off them. This is pure criminality that is


inflicting horrible effects on the community. We want to challenge


RAAD ourselves about their violent activities. So we made contact with


the group, through an intermediary. We put a number of questions to


RAAD. They supplied us with a series of statements and


photographs. We began by asking RAAD why they were shooting people.


RAAD why they were shooting people. They alleged are drug dealers. They


RAAD believes it has support in this community. So does it? And if


it does, where does that support it does, where does that support


come from? While filming in Derry, we found people reluctant people


they support RAAD until this happened. Ten days ago, police


investigating RAAD mounted a search operation within cegdepan. Within


minutes a crowd gathered outside. Then this.


Bomb. Around the corner, a police vehicle was hit by a blast bomb.


So what do people here, think about RAAD? I support RAAD fully. I'd


probably be lifted for saying that, I support them, because I can see


what people do with drugs. Do RAAD have support? Only people are


afraid to say they pour RAAD because you're looked at as a bad


person. My heart and soul support RAAD. I would trust them. If my


grandson was involved in drugs, I would go straight to them and I


know they'd sort him out. Not shooting him but in other ways,


that's the last resort. This woman wasn't the only one here who agreed


to be interviewed by RAAD. Shortly afterwards, we spotted Gary


Donnelly, a hardline Republican, opposed to the peace process. We


asked him whether RAAD has support in the area. There's without doubt


support for RAAD in these communities. People, some people in


these communities would see RAAD at the forefront of the battle against


drugs. Could you agree with shooting people, that's barbaric?


When people look at that, it is a form of justice. It is barbaric, it


is not nice, but the drug problem in this community, there's people


who want swift just dis, and that's the way they look at it. Shortly


But these scenes in the Creggan were about something deeper and


more fundamental than RAAD. Police is not welcome in our community


this. Is not a normal police force that you would see in Ireland or


England, this is a paramilitary police force. RAAD claimed


responsibility for a blast bomb on the police. This is the first time


RAAD attacked on the pist pist, it put the group on an I - PSNI and


put it on another level. When RAAD emerged, it had no political agenda,


but of course, in recent years, RAAD are in conflict with the PSNI,


they're hunted by the PSNI, and denounced now by Sinn Fein, and all


that. I think it creates the potential at least an overlap of


interest with RAAD and people called dissident Republicans, one


question is how will that develop, in the next couple of years.


asked RAAD through the intermediary, if they work with dissent? They


refused to comment. What's clear is that RAAD is a new faction in an


already divided Republican family in Derry. So, where is Sinn Fein in


all of this and what is it doing about RAAD? We are voicing our


opposition to what they do. We have always said they have no meaningful


role to play with life in Derry. We highlighted what RAAD is about. We


said they're under Sinn Fein, under the peace process, and called on


the community to voice their opposition, to show their


opposition, be it in public demonstrations or co-operateing


with the PSNI. But how realistic are Sinn Fein's calls to co-operate


with the police? Sinn Fein is in a difficult position, it is their


line, publicly and I understand, privately to tell people, you have


problems with RAAD or generally, with illegal, or antisocial


behaviour, to go to the PSNI. That is not always welcome advice. So to


tell people to go to PSNI appear in court and give evidence against


particulars, that's easy to say, but difficult for people to do on


the ground. RAAD it seems has become the focus, of a battle for


the very soul of the community, within Republicanism in Derry.


Feign are attempting to get together, you know, people in the


community, many of whom will be associated with Sinn Fein, to form


community groups and give a voice who are oppose today RAAD. How


successful that is, remains to be seen., we got a phenomenonan now,


where community groups are emerging, some hostile ter raed, and some in


effect, defending RAAD or the dissident Republicans or both, so


you have a community which is split. What is the answer to RAAD? We've


learnted on the ground, quiet diplomacy has been going on. There


are conversations taking place, these have been taking place


formally and informally over a period of time. We have reacheded


understandings. Seamus is a social worker, and believes there are


circumstances in which RAAD will scale back their activities. RAAD


said if there was some other means of dealing effectively with the


drugs problem they would no longer be in existence. If we can get a


strong community voice in place, that says "we will take


responsibility for dealing with the issues, and no-one else, ""RAAD


will listen. There are people to take on that role. The women said


when it comes to takeling the social problems and drugs, they


have more to offer than RAAD. Throughout Northern Ireland there's


drug problems, alcohol problems, misuse of prescription drugs, we're


to different here in this city. But young people have to grow up, they


make mistakes, but they have to learn from them and being shot


won't learn them. Are you naive, that some people would say you'll


never solve the drug problem, if you're going to try and do it as a


community, there are a million xaxs it hasn't worked. Do you feel you


will make a difference? We wouldn't be here if we couldn't make a


difference. The community to us is everybody getting involved, the


whole community getting together. We are not superheroes, it won't


happen overnight. We need everybody together as one, regardless of who


you are, what you are, where you're fro, we want everybody to come


together, unite and sort out the problem together. What are your


hopes for the future, in terms of RAAD and Derry? My hope is that


RAAD disband and all other armed vigilante groups. Disband and


disarm, and go away, and let us be the community that we want to be.


So, will RAAD soften its position So, will RAAD soften its position


in response to these calls? We It is a sign that RAAD has no


intention of going away. It seems that there will be further


suffering at the hands of the vigilantes. I still wait for that


text or phone call, from Andrew. 24 years of age, a young man. Starting


to turn his life around. And they murder him. Where's the justice?


RAAD are a relic of repian parliamentarianism, apart from the


misery of their victims, it is hard to tell what they are trying to


Derry is the City of Culture next year - but it's a city plagued by the actions of the self-styled vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD). Stephen Dempster investigates.

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