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News Release - Jerrie Ann Sullivan: Garda Ombudsman investigation 'about protecting Gardaí'

News release - Issued by Dublin Shell to Sea - April 24th, 2012

-- Gardaí and Garda Ombudsman undermined people who made recording public  -- 

The Garda Ombudsman investigation into the Corrib Garda 'rape' recording incident has, from the start, been "about protecting An Garda Síochána", according to Jerrie Ann Sullivan, one of the women who made the recording public. 

Today's report from the Garda Ombudsman recommends disciplinary action against one Garda. The Garda Commissioner will decide whether or not to implement the recommendation. During the history of the Corrib Gas project, not one Garda has been disciplined over policing of the protests, despite more than six years of well-documented abuses of power by Gardaí in Mayo and more than 100 complaints to the Garda Ombudsman. 

Recently, Jerrie Ann Sullivan, her NUI Maynooth lecturers and Shell to Sea published a document which revealed a campaign of spin and misinformation by the Garda Ombudsman that misled the public over the ‘rape’ recording incident and undermined the case against Gardaí. The document showed how the Garda Ombudsman served the interests of An Garda Síochána by undermining the women who made the recording public, by falsely implying that the 'rape' recording had been tampered with (see link below). 

Jerrie Ann Sullivan said: "I'm not at all surprised at today's news, considering how An Garda Síochána, the Garda Ombudsman and Alan Shatter have handled this incident and the Corrib project generally. No Garda has ever been disciplined over policing of Corrib, as Corrib Gardaí are politically protected."  

"With a police force under the direct control of government ministers, this report is predictable – just as it was predictable from the start that the Ombudsman investigation would protect the Gardaí. This is the same reason that people campaigning against Corrib have stopped making official complaints about Gardaí." 

"The narrow scope of today's report does nothing to address the real reasons that Gardaí felt free to talk flippantly about raping campaigners. Possible minor discipline for any one officer is not an appropriate response to the Corrib policing culture of violence and disrespect that has been institutionalised by the State as a whole. This culture has been established and nurtured by politicians who have publicly sanctioned the use of violent force against the community affected by the Corrib gas project." 

"We need a culture in Ireland where people - including whistleblowers within the Gardaí - can bring matters to public attention without fear. The aggressive reactions of the Gardaí and the Ombudsman after I brought this incident to light were very troubling for me, my family and my academic supervisors, all of which my lecturers and I have set out in a briefing document explaining our concerns." (See link below)  

"While this incident is over, people living the area continue to face the same dangerous, state-sanctioned police culture which it spotlighted, as described in a seven-page complaint issued last month by 112 local residents about how the Corrib project is affecting daily life in North West Mayo (see below)." 

Caoimhe Kerins of Dublin Shell to Sea said: "The Garda Ombudsman's investigation and report sends out several messages: firstly, that it is acceptable for serving Gardaí to joke about raping people in their custody. Also, the treatment of those who brought the recording to public attention sends out the message that people who criticise or embarrass An Garda Síochána can expect repercussions, not only from Gardaí but also from the very body tasked with being an independent watchdog." 

Briefing document re GSOC & rape recording investigation: 

(5 April 2012): 

Includes overview; account by Jerrie Ann Sullivan; statement by 7 NUI Maynooth academics; copy of GSOC interim report:

Press release (5 April 2012): 

Garda Ombudsman spin and misinformation revealed 

Complaint by 112 Erris residents about Corrib Project


Caoimhe Kerins