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‘Horrifying’ talk of raping me by gardai has caused ‘deep distress’ for everyone

FEAR: ‘Glimpse of intimidation community has faced for years’

Damien Eagers: CONTROVERSY: Jerrie Ann Sullivan speaks to media. She was arrested after climbing onto a tractor in a protest against Shell

By Clodagh Sheehy

Friday April 08 2011

The five gardai at the centre of the “rape-tape” allegations will face some sort of censure but are unlikely to be sacked.

They are likely to face internal disciplinary procedures with possible sanctions like suspension or fines if they are found guilty of misconduct. One of the two women at the centre of the garda ‘rape tape’ has spoken of her “distress” at what had happened.

Jerrie Ann Sullivan, a postgraduate student from Dublin, said the remarks by gardai joking about raping her and another woman had been deeply traumatic.

Speaking at a press conference, she said the remarks, inadvertently recorded on a video camera, had been very distressing.

“The words used were horrifying and have caused deep distress. The context of these words has been causing deep trauma in a community for years and continues today,” she said. “This is just a glimpse of the reality of the intimidation and the violence the community has been facing for years.”

Five gardai at the centre of an independent investigation into the controversy have been banned from any dealings with the public until it is completed.


Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has issued an order confining the five to indoor administrative duties at Castlebar station in Co Mayo. He has also issued an apology over the remarks. One of the five was already based in Castlebar and two of the others were transferred there yesterday from Belmullet and the rest from Bangor Erris and Ballina.

The commissioner made the decision after studying the findings of a fact-finding mission carried out by Supt Gearoid Begley from Tuam, Co Galway. Copies of the report were sent to Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the Garda Ombudsman Commission, which is now carrying out an inquiry into complaints lodged by the two female protestors arrested at the Corrib pipeline who were the subject of remark on the tape. Ms Sullivan said she felt forced to come forward because personal details had been leaked to selected journalists, at least one of whom had called to her Dublin address.

“We want to be left alone. 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 at a Dublin press conference. She had demanded an independent inquiry into the policing of Shell’s gas pipeline in Co Mayo.

Looking clearly uncomfortable, she denounced the garda investigation into the ‘rape-tape’ controversy. Ms Sullivan, from Stillorgan in Dublin, would not be drawn on how she became involved in the incident.

The UCD science graduate, in a previous interview on her way to the 2009 Copenhagen summit on climate change, said she refused to fly, citing the detrimental impact planes have on the planet. Just three weeks ago she left her role at ECO-UNESCO, where she was youth co-ordinator for sustainable development.

Within days she was protesting at the Corrib and last week stopped a tractor and climbed on its roof in protest at the “ongoing intimidation” of the communities living close to Shell’s inland refinery site in Mayo.

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– Clodagh Sheehy


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