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Outrage at garda ‘rape-tape’ as investigations open

By: 
Áine Ryan - Mayo News

Outrage at garda ‘rape-tape’ as investigations open

Minister for Justice may re-examine Corrib policing issues once investigation into Belmullet incident is complete

SUPPORT groups for the victims of sexual violence have strongly condemned comments made by gardaí in north Mayo who joked about raping two female Corrib gas protestors. Amid widespread shock yesterday, the Garda Ombudsman Commission confirmed it had initiated an inquiry into the matter ‘in the public interest’.
In a separate inquiry, Superintendent Gearóid Begley, from Tuam, reportedly quizzed the three gardaí involved yesterday, one of whom is a sergeant.
He will report directly to the garda commissioner who will decide if there are grounds for criminal or disciplinary action.
Both women, who are in their 20s are still in shock and not willing at this time to reveal their identities. One of them, who is a postgraduate student at NUI Maynooth, is due to meet the Garda Ombudsman today to lodge a formal complaint.
The National Women’s Council has called on the Garda Commissioner to act on the case.
“Women need to be reassured that if they are raped or sexually assaulted they can report it to gardaí who understand that these are deeply traumatic experiences. They must not be left wondering if their distress will be a source of amusement,” said chief executive Susan McKay.
Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning that he wanted to assure anyone who is a victim of a sexual offence or rape that they will get full support from the Garda Síochána. He said he didn’t want to prejudge a matter that was under investigation but it was hugely important that members of the gardaí act appropriately when in interactions with the public.
When asked would he have an open mind in re-examining the policing of Corrib, he said he would come to that matter again when investigations were complete.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Minister for Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte described the allegations of the audio-taped remarks by gardai as ‘unedifying‘.
Mr Rabbitte “I don’t have any knowledge about reported stories concerning the protests at the Corrib field. But I agree with the deputy that the allegations are certainly unedifying.”
He was responding to Sinn Fein spokesman on natural resources Martin Ferris who asked about the allegations about gardai ‘openly talking in the back of a car about the use of rape against two protestors’.

Posted Date: 
6 April 2011