Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Anti-drug group 'not vigilantes'

Members of the Independent Monitoring Commission
The Independent Monitoring Commission published its report on Wednesday

An anti-drugs group have rejected claims they are dissident republican paramilitaries behind a series of vigilante attacks in north Belfast.

The Independent Monitoring Commission included Concerned Families Against Drugs in its survey of paramilitary activity between March and August.

It said "vigilante groups" were behind a rise in attacks in some areas.

CFAD said they "categorically deny the scurrilous allegations levelled at our community group".

Spokesman Mairtin Og Meehan blamed "the non-Independent Monitoring Commission and so-called Sinn Fein 'community workers' who clearly do nothing to seriously try and combat the scourge of drugs and related crime in our areas".

"These same inactivists call on our beleaguered communities to support the RUC/PSNI who readily recruit the suppliers and dealers of death and destruction," he added.

'Clean up'

The IMC, which is responsible for monitoring paramilitary activity, delivered its 22nd report on Wednesday.

In its section on dissident republicans, the commission said: "We note that a factor behind the increase in the number of attacks in some nationalist areas appears to have been the growth of vigilante organisations which claim to want to 'clean up' (their term) anti-social behaviour.

"Two such groupings are Concerned Families Against Drugs in Belfast and Republican Action Against Drugs in Derry.

"We believe that both these groups have undertaken attacks, including the use of pipe-bombs."

On its website, Concerned Families Against Drugs says it consists of "local parents, residents and community activists committed to addressing the scourge of drugs and building a safer community.

"Our aim is to tackle drug dealers, through an effective anti-drug campaign and raising awareness about the dangers of drugs."

It says its methods include "a series of protests, exposures and of course political and community lobbying".

In a wide-ranging report, the commission said the dissident republican threat was the highest for almost six years.

It said most new recruits were "inexperienced young males" but the involvement of former IRA members "significantly added to the threat".

It also reported a sharp rise in the number of beatings carried out by loyalist paramilitaries.



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SEE ALSO
RAAD behind rise in attacks - IMC
04 Nov 09 |  Foyle and West
Ex-IRA men 'helping dissidents'
04 Nov 09 |  Northern Ireland
IMC report - political reaction
04 Nov 09 |  Northern Ireland
'Sharp rise' in loyalist beatings
04 Nov 09 |  Northern Ireland
Timeline of dissident activity
04 Aug 10 |  Northern Ireland
Who are the dissidents?
25 Feb 10 |  Northern Ireland

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