Throughout the past year or so, CFAD has taken a large amount of dangerous narcotics off the streets, highlighted the scourge of drugs in working-class communities and exposed dozens of drug barons to the wider public. Our record speaks for itself and people who live in Nationalist areas of North Belfast know only too well, the positive impact our anti-drug campaign has had.
Unfortunately, there are a small number of highly-paid Community Workers/Sinn Fein members. Who have engaged in a concerted campaign of vilification, rumours and lies about every member of the CFAD collective. We have strong evidence of this behaviour and many of us have logged this with our Solicitor to ensure we were not railroaded to Court by the RUC/PSNI on spurious charges.
In July of this year, Aidan Ferguson CFAD Activist was brutally arrested by the RUC/PSNI under the watchful gaze of television cameras who had been tipped off to wait outside Mr. Ferguson's home. Thankfully, Aidan was released without charge a few hours later. Due to the unbalanced nature of the media coverage, Aidan and his young family were forced to move home after he and his wife received death threats from Loyalist Paramilitaries.
Last month, the 'Independent' Monitoring Commission (IMC) included CFAD in it's 22Nd Report, which claimed that we had been involved in a number of shootings of drug dealers and had been responsible for pipe-bombings in North Belfast. The Commission also claimed CFAD was a 'Vigilante group' .
The following week Irish tabloid newspaper, The Sunday World, printed an unsubstantiated article which claimed that CFAD was linked to the armed Republican group, ONH. The story included the names and photographs of prominent members of CFAD and stated that we were 'intent on bringing the North back to the bad old days of the Troubles'.
In direct response to these serious allegations, CFAD Spokesman, Martin Og Meehan was detained by the RUC/PSNI at a checkpoint on Sunday 29th November, 2009. He was badly assaulted by two members of the patrol who proceeded to spray a number of bursts of CS Gas into his face before he was handcuffed and arrested. Mr. Meehan immediately demanded medical assistance because he suffers from a serious heart condition and was bluntly informed; he will have to wait until he See's a Doctor. Martin eventually seen a 'Police Doctor' after some two hours who informed the RUC/PSNI they needed to take the prisoner to Hospital immediately. Before releasing the former Republican prisoner, he was informed that he would be charged with assaulting a Police Officer at a later date. Martin Og has since contacted his Solicitor and the Police Ombudsman's Office to pursue a complaint at the heavy-handiness of his arrest.
Later the same night, another prominent member of CFAD, Thomas Cosgrove was walking home. When he was also detained and questioned by the RUC/PSNI in Ardoyne. After refusing to answer one particular question, he too was assaulted, handcuffed and arrested. Mr. Cosgrove was held for a number of hours in custody before being charged with assaulting a Police Officer and released on bail. During his arrest, Thomas was approached by two members of the Special Branch who informed him, 'if you don't give us information we wish to have, your life will be hell'. He rightly refused to assist them in their quest for information about CFAD activities. Around twelve hours after his release, Thomas' home was given a full search by the RUC/PSNI.
Concerned Families Against Drugs (CFAD) demand the immediate end to RUC/PSNI harassment and intimidation and call on fellow community groups and Politicans to show Solidarity with us. We also call upon those so-called Republicans attempting to smear us, to have a shred of decency and join the 21st century. Finally, our anti-drug campaign will continue unabated!