'Rape tape' garda still to be formally interviewed
Published 25/04/2011 | 05:00
ONE of five gardai at the centre of the 'rape tape' controversy has yet to be interviewed over jokes made about raping two women.
The investigation centred on five gardai, but it has been "discontinued" into two of the officers after it was found they had no case to answer.
The Irish Independent has learned that two of the remaining officers have been interviewed but one remains to be formally questioned by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).
The slow pace of the investigation has been caused by a delay in gardai receiving the controversial 37-minute recording.
A Dublin Shell to Sea spokeswoman said there had been a delay because the camera did not belong to the two women.
In the recording, two men can be heard joking about sex attacks on two women.
An initial report on the incident by Supt Gearoid Begley, from Tuam, Co Galway, found "the conversation did take place between members of An Garda Siochana and the words reported were used".
At the start of the month when the recording was made public, the GSOC took the unusual step of launching a public interest inquiry before receiving a complaint. The five were banned from dealing with the public and confined to administrative duties pending completion of the investigation.
The two gardai into whom the investigation has been discontinued, can now return to their normal duties.
The two women at the centre of the controversial recording are young environmental activists in their 20s and living in Dublin. They had travelled to north Mayo where they joined up with the Rossport Solidarity Camp to protest about the Corrib Gas pipeline.
One of the women, Jerri Anne Sullivan, spoke of her "distress" afterwards, saying it had been a traumatic experience. She has called for an international and independent inquiry into the policing of oil giant Shell's gas pipeline project in Mayo.
The comments were inadvertently taped, after a video camera seized from the activists was left recording in the back of a patrol car. Voices can be heard on the tape joking about threatening to deport and rape one of the women. The women were not in the car at the time.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has issued an apology over the remarks.
Last night, Dublin Shell to Sea spokeswoman Caoimhe Kerins said the camera belonged to NUI Maynooth. She said there were other recordings on the machinethat had to be given back to the university so they could download them. The university then gave the camera to the GSOC just over a week ago.
It is understood that the recording at the centre of the controversy is not on a tape but on a hard drive on the camera.
Ms Kerins said that while they were co-operating with the investigation, they were not entirely happy with it.
"We are still calling for an independent and international investigation into what's going on in Mayo," she said. "There has been a long history of human rights abuses linked to the pipeline."