Community activists refute IMC ‘smear’
An anti-drugs pressure group which operates in north Belfast has refuted allegations that it is behind an increase in punishment attacks on anti-social elements in the area.
Ardoyne based Concerned Families Against Drugs (CFAD) has rejected the claims made in a military briefing released by the so-called Indepedent Monitoring Commission yesterday.
“We’re an open community group who don’t engage in any illegal activity and to date no-one from the IMC has contacted our group”, Martin Og Meehan, of Concerned Families Against Drugs,said.
Mr Meehan said the north Belfast group as “radical” but that no-one had ever been injured as a result of its activity.
“We’re one year old and we have taken more drugs out of the community than the PSNI have.”
He was concerned that the IMC report had set the group up for state harassment.
“We’re now going to be targeted for arrest and imprisonment,” he said.
“We’re challenging the IMC to produce evidence of this illegal activity.”
In its latest report published on Wednesday, the IMC stated: “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.”
The report alleges both organisations have undertaken attacks, including some involving the use of pipe-bombs.
Sinn Fein has also called for the groups, believed to be organised by dissident republicans, to disband.
The groups’ supporters have alleged that the PSNI encourages low-level criminality and drug activity, through the use of informers and agents provocateurs, to monitor and control republican communities.
On its website, CFAD has detailed action it has taken against alleged drug dealers, including the use of letters “naming and shaming” individuals to the local community, as well as exposing the location of caches of illegal drugs.
The group says it passes on the drugs it seizes to a local priest.
In its most recent post, CFAD strongly denied “the scurrilous allegations levelled at our community group by 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.”
It added: “These same inactivists call on our beleaguered communities to support the RUC/PSNI who readily recruit the suppliers and dealers of death and destruction”.