Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Parents bringing kids for punishment shooting 'by appointment'

Mediator: Tommy McCourt

Self-styled vigilante groups have previously ordered parents to bring their children to pre-arranged locations where they will be shot.

The mother of an 18-year-old shot in Londonderry last year told how she was instructed to drop him off and wait while he was shot twice.

The woman said she believed he was targeted because he was a drug user.

"I know what happened was wrong but hopefully he'll get help," she said.

The dissident group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) is suspected to have been behind the attack.

"It should never have come to this, he shouldn't have been doing what he was doing," continued the woman.

"I don't agree with drug dealing and hopefully we can work from here to get him the help he needs."

She said she was ordered to bring her son to a specific place in the Creggan estate.

"He walked down the lane – I was standing at the top – and I heard two shots," she said.

"I ran down to him. There was blood coming from both of his legs, but he was lucid.

"I just did what had to be done."

Public rallies have been staged in Derry against the actions of RAAD.

Its members have carried out dozens of so-called punishment attacks across the north west in recent years.

The group claimed responsibility for the murder of Derry man Andrew Allen in Buncrana, Co Donegal, in February last year.

A few months later, RAAD joined forces with a number of other dissident groups, including the Real IRA, to form the New IRA.

Last month, six young men from Londonderry were said to have been "exiled" by dissident republicans.

Tommy McCourt, of Rosemount Resource Centre (RRC), who acts as mediator, said the six were just the latest in a series of similar cases that was growing daily .

The men, all aged between 19 and 25, were accused of a range of crimes, including drug dealing, car theft and anti-social behaviour.

While two are still away, negotiations brokered by RRC between the paramilitaries and their families resulted in the threat being lifted – at least temporarily – against the others and they have been allowed to return.

Mr McCourt previously told the Belfast Telegraph: "People may be shocked at these six young men being told to leave Derry but we are being asked to mediate in cases where threats have been made against someone practically every single day of the week."

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