An organisation funded to mediate with ‘threat making agencies’ on behalf of their victims in the UK City of Culture is now dealing with a new threat almost every day, it has emerged.
The revelation came as families of some of six young men threatened by dissident republicans sought help from an organisation called Time2Choose.
Funded by the lottery and the International Fund For Ireland, it mediates with paramilitary groupings on behalf of victims in an attempt to have threats lifted.
The organisation has been established following work carried out by the Rosemount Resource Centre, who say they’ve helped over 300 people in similar situations in just two years.
Most threats in that period came from the so-called Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD). In 2012 RAAD became infamous for its ‘shootings by appointment’, with relatives having to take teenagers to be shot.
It also emerged that some victims had to make public ‘confessions’ to escape being shot.
As its profile increased, RAAD also claimed responsibility for the murder of Andy Allen in Buncrana in 2012. Despite a public statement making serious allegations against their victim, privately people with links to the grouping claimed to relatives that the murder was an accident. However the family has rejected this claim and are confident the Garda investigation will lead to prosecutions for Mr Allen’s murder and disclose the real motives.
Last year RAAD and the Real IRA, along with Oglaigh na hEireann formalised a union, when they announced themselves as the New IRA.
Earlier this year IFI provided Time 2 Choose with almost £189,000 to help young people deal with threats and ‘change their behaviour’.
However it appears that threats remain an almost daily occurrence especially in nationalist areas of Londonderry.
Tommy McCourt, of the Resource Centre, said that the issuing of threats is an ongoing problem and is happening almost on a daily basis.
“We would have people coming to us and telling us that they have been threatened - or that threats have been passed through our organisation and so on - almost daily,” he told UTV news.
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey has strongly condemned the latest expulsion of six young people from Londonderry.
Mr Ramsey said: “If crimes have been committed by these young people then they must be dealt with by the PSNI, not unaccountable elements who believe they have the right to be judge and jury.
“I would call on those issuing the threats to lift them immediately and for the community to reject the ongoing issuing of these orders by individuals or groups within the city. The families of these young people will be seeking to make sense of this incident and I will be doing all I can to ensure that the young people are safe and that we can see an end to one sided justice doled out by shadowy figures.
“The only people who need to leave the stage and call it a day are those paramilitary groups who are inflicting these injustices against our community.”