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News release: Garda Ombudsman's bias & spin in 'rape tape' investigation revealed

News release - Issued by Dublin Shell to Sea - April 5th, 2012

-- People who made recording public were threatened with criminal prosecution --

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) engaged in spin and misinformation that misled the public over the Corrib ‘rape’ recording incident of March 2011 and undermined the case against Gardaí.

A document published today – one year after the story broke – details GSOC’s attempts to serve the interests of An Garda Síochána by undermining the women who made the recording public, while deflecting attention from the behaviour of Gardaí.

One year after GSOC launched its investigation (April 5th, 2011), there is no word yet of any disciplinary action being recommended against the Gardaí involved. However, GSOC threatened several civilians affected by the incident with criminal prosecution.

The document – prepared by one of the women about whom the ‘rape’ comments were made; by seven academics at NUI Maynooth; and by Dublin Shell to Sea – is available as a PDF at the Shell to Sea website

The 22 page report on Garda Ombudsman spin is available here

The document details how:

• During the course of its investigation GSOC threatened criminal prosecution against Jerrie Ann Sullivan and several academics at NUI Maynooth (Sullivan is one of the women who were talked about by Gardaí in the recording) and Caoimhe Kerins of Dublin Shell to Sea.

• GSOC’s July 2011 interim report falsely implied that the recording of the incident had been “tampered” with in some way before being given to GSOC.

• The interim report sought to add credibility to a rumour – initially circulated by Garda sources – that the women shouted ‘rape’ during their arrest and that this somehow lessened the seriousness of the Garda rape comments.

• The interim report failed to include any testimony from Jerrie Ann Sullivan or her lecturers, despite hours of questioning of these people, resulting in a report that only presented the Garda side of the story.

• GSOC sources briefed journalists anonymously in a way that undermined the credibility of the people who brought the recording to public attention.

Jerrie Ann Sullivan said: “I was shocked at how a supposedly independent public body could feed journalists with information that undermined a witness in its own investigation”.

A statement issued by seven academics who run the MA course at NUI Maynooth that was being taken by Sullivan states: “The Garda Ombudsman’s attitude to the victims has been consistently hostile, recalling past treatment of the victims of sexual violence... It is not clear what explains the Ombudsman’s behaviour in this respect.”

Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins said: “We felt obliged to make public our experience of dealing with GSOC, as the biased nature of its operations should be a matter of grave public concern. The fallout from the ‘rape’ recording incident has exposed how the Gardaí and Garda Ombudsman use spin to undermine people who dare to criticise Gardaí.”

She continued: “Many people living close to Shell’s inland refinery project in north Mayo have stopped making complaints to GSOC, as they now regard it as a waste of time.”

The four-page document, which details GSOC’s extraordinary and troubling handling of its investigation, is accompanied by several appendices:
- a nine-page account and timeline by Jerrie Ann Sullivan detailing her treatment by GSOC;
- a copy of an August 2011 letter from Jerrie Ann Sullivan to GSOC;
- a two-page statement by several NUI Maynooth academics about the matter;
- a one-page technical note about the digital camera;
- a copy of the biased GSOC ‘Interim Report’ of July 2011.


Caoimhe Kerins


Download the document at: