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Gilmore 'shocked' by Corrib tape

Steven Carroll - Irish Times

The content of a tape associated with the arrest of two women during protests over the Corrib gas project in north Mayo late last week was shocking, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said today.

But he said people should not jump to conclusions about the comments made until an investigation into the matter by the Garda Commissioner and Garda Ombudsman Commission is complete.

The tape captured members of the garda joking about threatening to deport and rape a female protestor who had refused to give her name during her arrest. At one point, a garda could be heard saying: “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you.”

During leaders questions in the Dáil this morning, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins asked Mr Gilmore to condemn gardaí making jokes about inflicting sexual violence on women who were in their custody.

Mr Higgins said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had failed to do so when asked about the matter. He said the comments on the tape were akin to those of a hostile occupation force towards civilians.

Mr Gilmore said he heard the tape played on television and that he was “shocked by the contents”.

He said rape was a “heinous crime” and that it should not be “threatened, trivialised or laughed at”.

However, Mr Gilmore said he did not know who was speaking on the tape and that the results of investigations into the matter should be awaited before further comment is made.

He said Mr Shatter had made it clear an investigation was taking place into the matter and that those who were victims of rape or assault should report it to the authorities.

The Tánaiste said he did not think anybody should jump to conclusions about the recording.

Mr Higgins also asked if the Government planned to try to change the terms of the deal agreed with Shell for the Corrib project. He said there would be no more economic benefits to the State from the Corrib gas field under the current arrangement and that an attempt should be made to stop giving away the State’s natural resources.

Mr Gilmore said licensing arrangements for such projects were a matter for the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte and that he expected the Minister to speak on the issue in time.

Separately, Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald accused the Government parties of dropping an electoral commitment to increase the minimum wage. She said there had been no attempt to reverse the cut introduced by Fianna Fáil and that the coalition appeared to be walking the same path as the last government.

Mr Gilmore said the Programme for Government made it clear the minimum wage cut would be reversed and that the Attorney General had been consulted to see if new legislation was required to implement the wage rise.

Ms McDonald said Mr Gilmore’s response sounded like a stalling mechanism and that she believed the Government was looking to the troika of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank for permission to increase the rate.

Mr Gilmore said the Government was looking at the most appropriate way of increasing the wage. “It will be honoured as quickly as possible,” he said.

Posted Date: 
6 April 2011