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Shell protest woman lacks confidence in commission inquiry

The Irish Times – Friday, April 8, 2011


INVESTIGATION: ONE OF the women at the centre of the Garda rape comments controversy has expressed a lack of confidence in the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission’s ability to investigate the gardaí involved and to sanction them.

Jerrie Ann 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 gardaí had been sanctioned.

“That doesn’t leave you with a huge amount of hope,” she told a Shell to Sea press conference in Dublin.

The other woman arrested with Ms Sullivan, and about whom the rape comments were made, was not at the press conference and does not wish to be named.

Ms Sullivan, a post-graduate student at NUI Maynooth, said when she and her companion, an academic in Maynooth, were released from Garda custody last Thursday and their video 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.

“It was deeply chilling to hear the gardaí in the car laughing at the prospect of raping the other woman,” she said.

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

They believe this could be established by the Government and carried out by “well respected figures from the international community”.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD believed gardaí in Mayo had been given a signal by senior officers to meet the protesters robustly, or to “go in rough on these people”.

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