'Give me your name and address or I'll rape you.'
The recorded words of an Irish Police Sergeant as he discussed with other officers how they were going to interrogate a female anti-Shell campaigner.
On Thursday, 31st March 2011, several Gardai (Police), including a Sergeant, accidentally recorded their own conversation while traveling in a squad car in north Mayo. They had just arrested two female protesters at a Shell compound at Aughoose, had seized their video camera and had let the camera continue recording in the car. The women were traveling in two other Gardai cars in the same convoy.
After the women were released without charge, and the video camera returned to them, the women discovered the recording of the Gardai conversation. This included the Gardaí talking about threatening to rape one of the women in their custody. They also talk about whether they should bother adhering to safety procedures for removing protesters from heights: the Sergeant advocates ignoring the rules learned in Gardai training.
Earlier that morning one of the women had boarded a Shell tractor, transporting bog mats to a new works site at Aughoose along the public road. She sat cross-legged on the cab, reading while the second woman videotaped the interactions when about eight gardaí, including members of the Public Order Unit, arrived on the scene.
Unaware that they had been recorded, the Gardai returned the 37-minute tape to the women after their release without charge. They had been kept in custody, in separate cells, for about an hour.
One of the two women described how on playing back the tape
'It was terrifying to hear Gardaí talk in this way about rape. How can women living in the area feel safe when such a culture of brutal intimidation and violence exists here?'
Watch RTE TV report
Listen to the 2 minute audio.
Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerrins has said of the recording that 'This is shocking and extremely serious. It is very frightening for those of us involved in the campaign. Gardai are the people that women are supposed to trust when they need to report a rape.Gardai are supposed to be responsible for bringing rapists to justice.'
Policing of the Shell Corrib gas dispute has amounted to over € 14 million to date.
This huge sum is set to rise sharply over the coming months with expected protests increasing as Shell builds the longest raw gas pipeline tunnel in western Europe. The subsea tunnel, which is through a Special Area of Conservation, will take over two years to build and will involve around 472 truck movements a day, along the narrow, winding roads in this rural area.
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