Page last updated at 08:35 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Concerned Families Against Drugs meets IMC

Members of the Independent Monitoring Commission
The Independent Monitoring Commission described CFAD as "vigilantes"

An anti-drugs campaign group have met the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) after it labelled them "vigilantes" in its last report.

The IMC said Concerned Families Against Drugs (CFAD), which is based in north Belfast, was involved in violence, including using pipe-bombs.

However CFAD has described the allegations as "scurrilous" and insisted it was a "campaigning group".

The meeting took place at the IMC's offices in Belfast on Tuesday.

Spokesman for Concerned Families Against Drugs, Martin Og Meehan, said the group was angry that it had not been spoken to by the IMC before inclusion in the report.

He said that his group's lawyers contacted the IMC after the publication and had been invited to a meeting.

"The meeting itself was courteous despite the 'charges' being levelled against us by the IMC," Mr Meehan said.

"We were glad to have been able to put our case forward to the commissioners and left them in no doubt about the growing scourge of drugs and associated crime in our community."

"Smear"

Mr Meehan also accused Sinn Fein of being involved in a smear campaign against his group.

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."

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."



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