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Who are Action Against Drugs?

Danny McKay, who was shot dead by Action Against Drugs in a gun attack in north Belfast in 2012 Picture by Pacemaker Belfast
John Monaghan

ACTION Against Drugs issued a chilling warning through the Irish News earlier this month to those involved in the murder of Gerard ‘Jock' Davison.

A statement from the group said: "If we find anyone had any role whatsoever, letting those who did it use their house, washed clothes or took the gun away, they are going to be executed."

In a rare public pronouncement to this newspaper a fortnight ago, the group said its leadership was composed of former members of the Provisional IRA and Direct Action Against Drugs, which killed several drug dealers in the 1990s.

The republican paramilitary group claimed to be "non political" and said it did not intend to target members of the security forces.

"We do not intend to let nationalist/republican areas to become like loyalist areas regarding drugs. Anybody with their hands on drugs is a target," it said.

AAD first came to prominence in 2012 when it claimed responsibility for the murder of alleged drug dealer Danny McKay in a house on the outskirts of north Belfast, and admitted shooting Harry Hales and his daughter, who were left seriously injured.

So far in 2015 the group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including a device which exploded under a car in February in the St James Road area of west Belfast and the shooting of 53-year-old Dan Murray in north Belfast.

Mr Murray, who strongly denied being a drug dealer, said he was lucky to be alive after the bullet chipped the top of his spinal cord.

A relative of murdered republican Tommy Crossan was also targeted by AAD at a house in west Belfast, but the attack was foiled when family members blocked the entrance to the property.

AAD has said it used deadly dum dum bullets, outlawed in international warfare due to their ability to cause horrific injuries, in recent attacks.

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