Mayo: ‘Shell To Sea’ Campaigners Call For An Independent International Inquiry Into The Policing Of The Corrib Project Protests: UPDATED

7 Apr

Transcripts of recording

The revelant section begins 3:18 into the audio clip.

**********************

Mr Monaghan: “Do you see the XL on the thing — that’s his mouth.”

Garda: “It’s my c**k and your f***ing wife will know all about it. I hope you’re recording all that now, John.”

Mr Monaghan: “Any more comments about my wife?”

Garda: “I don’t know the woman.

Posted Date: 

7 April 2011

The five gardaí at the centre of alleged comments of a sexually threatening nature in Co Mayo are to be confined to office duties in Castlebar while an investigation into the incident is carried out.

The move was announced in the Dáil by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, Alan Shatter.

Minister Shatter said four of the gardaí would be moved to the station from their current posts and the fifth – who is already stationed in Castlebar – will remain there.

Mr Shatter confirmed that he received a copy of a report on the incident from the Garda Commissioner this morning and that a copy had been sent to the Garda Ombudsman Commission, which is also carrying out an investigation.

The report follows the arrest of two women at the Corrib gas site last Thursday.

It is understood that the members of the gardaí who are the subject of the report have accepted the contents of the tape on which the comments were recorded.

They have acknowledged to the Superintendent that carried out the inquiry that the comments were unacceptable and should not have been made, it is believed.

The Garda Ombudsman Commission is due to interview the women and the gardaí as part of its investigation.

Call for independent inquiry

At a press conference in Dublin this morning, the protest group ‘Shell to Sea‘ called for an international inquiry into the policing of the Corrib protests.

That call has been backed by People Before Profit Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett.

One of the protestors, Jim Monaghan, also called on the Garda Ombudsman Commission to investigate his allegation that five years ago a garda made remarks that he claims were of a sexually abusive nature.

The Ombudsman refused to investigate the claim in 2007 because Mr Monaghan did not bring the complaint to the commission in time and because it felt there was no reason to extend the time limit.

Today, the Ombudsman has said it will not revisit the case.
Mr Monaghan of the Pobal Chill Chomáin group said there had been a loss of discipline ‘on both sides’.

He said gardaí should be beyond such behaviour given their position in society.

However, he conceded that some protestors have been deliberately taunting gardaí.

Gardaí involved in the incidents this week should be afforded due process and presumed innocent until otherwise proven, he added.

Asked about allegations that subversive elements had been involved in the protest side, Mr Monaghan said he was not aware of subversives being ‘actively used’ to support the process but he did concede that ‘there may be subversives on both sides of the fence’.

Also speaking at the news conference, Shell to Sea protest group Spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins criticised the Garda Ombudsman and the manner in which the office has responded to what she said were numerous complaints about garda activity in the area.

Jerry Anne O’Sullivan, who was arrested during a protest, said her name and address had been leaked to the media.

She said the words used by gardaí were horrific and added that the recordings are a reflection of the intimidation protestors have been suffering for years.

NEWS UPDATE: www.shelltosea.com   

The Garda Commissioner has received a report into allegations gardaí threatened to rape two female protesters arrested at Shell’s contentious Corrib gas project.

The file was handed over after an internal investigation into the allegations by Garda Supt Gearóid Begley of Tuam division.

Commissioner Martin Callinan is expected to review the report before assessing possible disciplinary procedures.

Jerrie Ann Sullivan, one of the women at the centre of the controversy over allegations of misconduct by Garda officers attended a Shell to Sea press conference today in Dublin. She expressed a lack of confidence in the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission’s ability to investigate the gardaí at the centre of the case and appropriately sanction them.

Ms Sullivan said more than 100 complaints have been made over the past two years about gardaí policing the anti-Shell protests in Mayo but none of the officers had been sanctioned where complaints were upheld.

“That doesn’t leave you with a huge amount of hope,” she told the press conference.

The Garda ombudsman initiated an inquiry on Tuesday as a “matter of public interest”, following the revelation that gardaí were inadvertently recorded on a camera making jokes about threatening to deport and rape one of the women.

The video camera was confiscated from one of the women after their arrest for alleged public order offences at the Shell Corrib gas pipeline site at Aughoose last Thursday. The women were taken in separate vehicles to Belmullet Garda station, where they were later released without charge, and discovered the camera had not been switched off after it was taken from them.

The other woman arrested with Ms Sullivan was not at the press conference today and does not wish to be named in the media.

Ms Sullivan said when she and her fellow protester were released from custody without charge last Thursday and the camera returned to them, they realised the camera had recorded 40 minutes of conversation in a car carrying some of the gardaí who had been part of the arrest party.

“We were deeply disturbed by what we heard. It was deeply chilling to hear the gardaí in the car laughing at the prospect of raping the other woman.”

Shell to Sea and Ms Sullivan now want an independent international inquiry established to examine policing around the Corrib gas pipeline protests.

Ms Sullivan said she had decided to come forward and speak out about her experiences because journalists had called to her home in Dublin looking for an interview. She now wanted privacy. “This is not about us. This is about women’s safety and about the ongoing intimidation of the communities living close to Shell’s inland refinery site in Mayo,” she said.

“Within hours of the announcement of the Garda inquiry into the recordings of gardaí talking about raping people in their custody, their colleagues were intimidating and physically assaulting other protesters at the same site at Aughoose on Tuesday. A woman was punched in the stomach by a garda,” she said.

Caoimhe Kerins of Shell to Sea told journalists at today’s press conference that the protester allegedly injured by gardaí in the incident referred to by Ms Sullivan needed medical treatment.

When asked by one reporter if a complaint had been made to the Garda Ombudsman about the attack, Ms Kerins said no complaint had been made.

Ms Kerins chaired today’s press conference, answering a number of questions on behalf of Ms Sullivan that journalists had addressed directly to Ms Sullivan.

Ms Kerins said it is now essential that an independent inquiry be established to examine the security operation around the anti Shell protests. This would examine the Garda’s attitudes and activities policing the Corrib protest. It would also examine the activities of IRMS, the private security company working in Mayo for Shell.

“For years, human rights organisations have been sending observers to the area, they’re not doing that without reason,” said Ms Kerins. “The response of An Garda Síochána and the State to the rape comments has been disgracefully inadequate.

“Garda representative bodies have failed to condemn the behaviour of these gardaí. The gardaí in question have not been suspended. This is yet another example of the culture of impunity surrounding policing of the Corrib protests.”

Garda sources say they believe the matter will most likely be handled as an internal disciplinary matter. Possible sanctions could range from suspension or monetary fines to dismissal. Dismissal of the gardaí is not regarded as the likely outcome, a number of sources have said.

NEWS UPDATE:

The Garda Commissioner has apologised after a number of gardaí were inadvertently recorded on a camera making jokes about threatening to deport and rape a Corrib protester. 

Speaking this evening, Commissioner Martin Callinan said he had received a file on the incident from Supt Gearóid Begley of Tuam division, who was appointed to conduct an internal investigation.

“I am deeply disappointed by its contents which indicate that this conversation did take place between members of An Garda Síochána and that the words reported were used,” he said. “I am sorry for the offence caused to the community we serve and for the hurt and pain felt, in particular, by victims of sexual crime.”

Mr Callinan said he has forwarded details of the report’s findings to the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

Mr Callinan said the Garda “aspires to the highest standards of professionalism” and he does not believe the attitude displayed by the gardai involved was a reflection of the whole force.  “I am conscious however that people’s trust and confidence in our integrity must always be earned and maintained and as Garda Commissioner my promise is to ensure that we will continually work to protect these vital and important aspects of our relationship with the community.”

The Garda ombudsman initiated an inquiry on Tuesday as a “matter of public interest”, following the revelation that gardaí were inadvertently recorded on a camera making jokes about threatening to deport and rape one of the women.

The video camera was confiscated from one of the women after their arrest for alleged public order offences at the Shell Corrib gas pipeline site at Aughoose last Thursday. The women were taken in separate vehicles to Belmullet Garda station, where they were later released without charge, and discovered the camera had not been switched off after it was taken from them.

Jerrie Ann Sullivan, one of the women at the centre of the controversy, attended a Shell to Sea press conference today in Dublin where she expressed a lack of confidence in the Garda ombudsman’s ability to investigate the gardaí involved and appropriately sanction them.

Ms Sullivan said more than 100 complaints have been made over the past two years about gardaí policing the anti-Shell protests in Mayo but none of the officers had been sanctioned where complaints were upheld. “That doesn’t leave you with a huge amount of hope,” she said.

The other woman arrested with Ms Sullivan was not at the press conference today and does not wish to be named in the media.

NEWS UPDATE:

NEWS UPDATE:

ONE of the two women at the centre of the Garda rape comment controversy said she very had very little faith in an investigation by the state’s policing watchdog.

Backing calls by protest group Dublin Shell to Sea, Jerrie Ann Sullivan said that an independent international investigation into the entire handling of the Corrib gas project in Co Mayo by gardaí was the “only option”.

Her call came as details of a second recording emerged, detailing alleged comments by a Garda sergeant of a sexual nature to a protester about his wife.

At a conference organised by Dublin Shell to Sea, it was confirmed that neither of the two women involved in the rape comment controversy had yet made a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Ms Sullivan, a post-graduate student from Dublin, said she had little hope in the public interest investigation into the recording set up by GSOC.

“I can’t dismiss the processes that are available domestically,” she said.

“But when I think about the fact that 111 complaints [about gardaí and the Shell protests] were made in the two-and-a-half years after the ombudsman was set up and no garda has ever faced a single consequence for any physical assault, the verbal abuse, the intimidation they have subjected the community to, it doesn’t leave me with very much hope and there needs to be an independent and international investigation into this. It’s the only option.”

Dublin Shell to Sea spokeswoman Caoimhe Kerins confirmed that neither Ms Sullivan nor the second, unidentified, woman had made a complaint to GSOC, but said they were in the process of doing so. The two women postponed appointments with GSOC for 10am yesterday.

Ms Kerins said the group’s experience of GSOC was also negative: “It does not compare to police ombudsman across the rest of Europe. Really it shouldn’t have the name ombudsman, if it does not have the power to take action against the gardaí.”

Ms Sullivan said she decided to go public after she was told by Dublin Shell to Sea that gardaí had allegedly leaked details of the names and addresses of both her and the other woman to the media. She said a journalist turned up at her door, which had caused her “great distress”.

She also made allegations that gardaí assaulted two protesters last Tuesday in Mayo, in which gardaí kicked and punched a man and punched a woman in the stomach, requiring her to be seen by a doctor.

Ms Kerins backed the allegations but said she did not know if the woman had made a complaint.

John Monaghan, spokesman of Mayo community group Pobail Chill Chomáin, played a recording in which he claims a Garda sergeant made sexual remarks about his wife in 2006. He said when he did complain to GSOC, he was told it was outside the six-month time limit for making a complaint.

He said the behaviour of gardaí in the two recordings was “systemic” and said the GSOC investigation must be extended into a wider review of policing in Corrib.

Transcript of second tape

– TRANSCRIPT of a tape at a protest in Ballinaboy, Co Mayo, on October 13, 2006, recorded by John Monaghan, spokesman of community group Pobail Chill Chomáin.

It records derogatory remarks of a sexual nature about his wife allegedly made by a Garda sergeant.

The tape captures Mr Monaghan ridiculing the sergeant by joking about an XL label sticking out of his clothes.

Mr Monaghan: “Do you see the XL on the thing — that’s his mouth.”

Garda: “It’s my c**k and your fucking wife will know all about it. I hope you’re recording all that now, John.”

Mr Monaghan: “Any more comments about my wife?”

Garda: “I don’t know the woman… well, not exactly.”

Mr Monaghan: “Any more comments about my wife?”

Garda: “I don’t know your wife.”

—————

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