Dail protest at Garda rape threat audio


A couple of hundred people turned out in the sunshine this afternoon to show solidarity with the women who are spoken about in the Garda rape comment audio which was released earlier this week. The message of todays event, which was organised by an ad hoc group of organisations and individuals concerned with justice, equality, and women's and human rights under the heading 'Say no to the trivialisation of rape', was that rape is not a joke. Organiser Susan Ms McKay from the National Women's Council said: "Jokes about rape are never funny. Rape is recognised in law as being second only to murder in terms of gravity. An Garda Síochána are responsible for upholding the law and for protecting the public. Their behaviour must be exemplary, and they must respect the people they serve. That includes women. We are half the population, and we are the majority of the population at risk when it comes to crimes of sexual violence."

Another organizer Ailbhe Smyth who spoke at the event highlighted the need for a truly independent inquiry to look into policing of Shell's Corrib project. She also said they wanted to speak up for the right of people who have come to this country to work. This was in reference to the initial Garda suggestion on the tape that they should threaten to deport the women concerned.

The gathering outlined its aims to:
- Stand in solidarity with the women concerned
- Support the right of women everywhere to protest without fear of rape or violence
- Demand an end to the trivialisation of rape
- Support the right of migrants to protest without the threat of intimidation or deportation
- Voice our solidarity with victims of sexual violence
- Call for a promptly delivered, robust and transparent enquiry into the behaviour of the Gardaí concerned

Dublin Shell to Sea campaigner, Grainne Griffin, also addressed the crowd and urged people to recognise that this was indicative of the way that the Gardai treat the members of the community in Mayo. Grainne spoke of how the recording unfortunately, while it was sickening to listen to, was not a surprise to people familiar with the Garda forces in Eris. “ Violence and the threat of violence have long been used in Eris to try and suppress protest. People have been very badly hurt, people have been traumatised, and that community is deeply scarred from it’s experiences”.

She went on to say that “It is incredibly important that we highlight this but it is equally important that to recognise that it has not worked. The Rossport community and Shell to Sea campaigners all over the country continue to fight. We have never given up, and we will not back down.”

Grainne praised the women of the Shell to Sea campaign who she said have always been to the forefront in defiance of the presence, threat of and the actions of the Gardai. She called on those present to remember that the comments of the Gardai about raping protesters were not just a threat to those in Mayo, or to those arrested at Shell to Sea protests. They were a threat to all women and it is essential that women everywhere recognise that and join the struggle.

For people looking to go to Mayo in support the campaign upcoming events include a protest to be held tomorrow, Saturday, April 9th, 2011 outside Belmullet Garda station, Co. Mayo at 2pm. This demonstration will be in support of all women and men who have been harassed, threatened and intimidated by Gardaí.
Shell to Sea are calling on anybody who can to travel to the area for the Rossport Solidarity Summer Gathering due to take place over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Along with the opportunity to participate in protests and actions against the project, there will be various workshops about the campaign and the issues involved. This is a great opportunity to meet members of the community and go on the Walk The Pipe tour. It will be family friendly and a kid's area will be provided.

WORDS: Grainne Griffin IMAGES: Andrew Flood

Read more on the Struggle against Shell's experimental Gas Pipeline

Read more on the Garda rape threat tape

An account of where the Garda rape threat tape came from with transcripts, audio and video

Short 2 minute audio
The long edited audio (25 mins)
Video of the entire unedited recording
on Vimeo, with explanatory text at the start and subtitles on some segments: 40 minutes