Disturbing evidence has emerged of threats made by Gardaí in Erris, county Mayo, to rape two women arrested during a protest against Shell’s dangerous experimental project in Corrib.
The shocking comments were recorded as three Gardaí travelled back to Belmullet Garda station in a squad car from the Shell to Sea protest last week in Aughoose, where Shell has commenced work on the onshore section of the Corrib gas pipeline.
The Gardaí violently seized a video camera from the women as they were filming the protest. The women were assaulted by Gardaí, with one of the women’s arms being twisted behind her back until she dropped the camera before being both were arrested on the spurious grounds of violating the Public Order Act.
Both women were placed into a Garda squad before the three Gardaí, including a local Sergeant, travelled in a separate car with the seized video camera. The Gardaí did not switch the camera off and their conversation was recorded.
During the course of the conversation the Gardaí made threats to rape the two women who were in garda custody.
While activists are all too familiar with the casual violence employed by Gardaí during protests, these disturbing recordings will send shockwaves right across society.
At one point during the conversation the local Sergeant, who has violently assaulted Shell to Sea campaigners on numerous occasions, says, “She [one of the women arrested] refused to give her name and address and was told she would be arrested.”
“And deported,” his colleague continued.
“And raped,” the Sergeant responded. He goes on to mimic how he might approach the woman in Garda custody, “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you.”
The three gardaí continue laughing, with one of them responding to the Sergeant: “Hold it there, give me your name and address there, I’ll rape you.”
The Sergeant then goes further and responds, “Or I’ll definitely rape you.”
Victims of sexual violence and those organisations that work with them will be particularly horrified to hear supposed ‘guardians of the peace’ discuss committing violent sexual attacks against women.
How can any woman have confidence in reporting acts of sexual violence when this is the sort of attitude displayed by members of the Gardaí?
Those opposing Shell's dangerous have experienced regular brutal violence at the hands of Gardaí. Direct evidence of threats of sexual violence add another disturbing element to the policing operation in Corrib.
éirígí extends its support and solidarity to the two women concerned, both of whom have requested that their anonymity be respected.
Several versions of the recording have been made available by Shell to Sea and Rossport Solidarity Camp.
Full length video file on Vimeo, with text introduction and some subtitles:
Compressed 60 mb video:
Original video file from camera with no processing (NB: very large file - 1gb):
Audio of first 2/3 of the recording:
Entire audio recording, including a long segment when the camera is in the Garda station at the end: