Category: Asset 8News & Views

Uproar over alleged Garda ‘rape’ comments

April 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Five garda officers have been transferred to desk duty while an investigation takes place into the so-called “rape tape” controversy in which officers are alleged to have made jokes about raping women under arrest. Four of the officers at the center of the scandal have also been transferred to divisional headquarters in County Mayo after a tape, taken last March, was released. In the tape, a number of officers appear to discuss raping two women arrested for taking part in a protest against long controversial plans by Shell to build a pipeline on the north Mayo coastline. Both women were placed in a patrol car while a video camera they had was set into a second car. It is understood the officers did not realize it was still recording and when it was handed back to the two women, it was found to ontain a conversation in which officers in the other car appeared to make sexual threats. The clip has one garda saying of one of the women “sounds like a Yank or Canadian,” while another responds, saying: “Well, whoever, we’ll get immigration f* * * * * g on her.” One then goes on to state: “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you…(laughter)… Or I’ll definitely rape you.” Police watchdog, the Garda Ombudsman, has opened an investigation, while a senior garda officer from outside Mayo has been appointed to carry out a separate inquiry. The officers will remain in their current positions until the results of the investigations, which could be several weeks. On Thursday of last week, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan apologized on behalf of the officers involved and said the comments did not reflect the opinions of the vast majority of the police force. “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,” Commissioner Callinan said. “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 we will continually work to protect these vital and important aspects of our relationship with the community.” One of the women involved in the incident, Jerrie Ann Sullivan, a postgraduate student from Dublin, said the remarks had been  deeply traumatic. “The words used were horrifying and have caused deep distress,” she said. “This is just a glimpse of the reality of the intimidation and the violence the community has been facing for years.” Sullivan and the other woman at the center of the investigation were released without charge.


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