Business people in a south Armagh village have rubbished allegations that they are being forced to pay protection money to the IRA.
The statement comes three weeks after a 22-year-old man claimed he was assaulted in Camlough for refusing to pay protection money.
Twelve people representing businesses in the area have now come together to insist that they have never heard of such intimidation in the area.
"We would like to refute the impression given in recent media reports that businesses in this village are subjected to demands for money for extortion or racketeering purposes," they said.
"At no time have we been asked under threat to pay any money to any group, nor are we aware of any other business in this area which has had such demands made of them."
Mr Toner was setting up his chip van on November 5 when his vehicle was rammed by a car. He was then dragged down an alleyway and attacked, leaving him with two broken arms and a broken leg.
"The widespread reporting of this allegation, without any reference to ourselves, may help to sustain a media myth about life in south Armagh, but it does little to assist us in promoting the economic prosperity of the area," the statement continued.
Sinn Féin assembly member Conor Murphy said local people had indicated that the attack had followed anti-social behaviour.
"I was aware of the anger in Camlough after these allegations were made and which were immediately taken to be true," he said.
"Everyone, including the people making the claims, knew they were false and I am glad that local businesses have publicly refuted them."
He said his party and business people wanted to continue to "build on community relations and to tackle anti-social behaviour in a positive way".
Newry and Mourne District Council passed a motion this week to meet with statutory and non-statutory bodies to "prepare a co-ordinated action plan for the future development of Camlough".