Protestors of the disputed Corrib gas pipeline in County Mayo will move their demonstrations to Castlebar on Wednesday, where the five Irish police officers at the centre of the "rape tape" storm are based.
The officers in question were inadvertently recorded on a video camera they had earlier confiscated from two women arrested during earlier protests, allegedly joking about threatening to rape and deport one of the women.
Approximately 100 protesters outside Belmullet Garda Station called for the "immediate suspension" of the five police officers on Saturday. There were also calls for a larger, independent international investigation into Corrib policing.
Four of the five officers were transferred from Belmullet to Castlebar by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan last Thursday, pending his investigation. The fifth officer is already stationed at Castlebar.
Commissioner Callinan said he made his decision after reading an internal fact-finding report compiled by a superintendent. Callinan also confirmed that the conversation as recorded on the tape "did take place" between the officers, and the "words reported were used."
The Commissioner told the Irish Examiner he is "deeply disappointed," and apologizes for the offense caused to the community, especially to victims of sexual violence. The officers in question have been confined to administrative duties by the Commissioner until the investigation is complete. They are entitled to have a representative from their staff association or a lawyer present during interviews.
If the charges are confirmed, they may be considered a breach of discipline rather than a criminal offense. In that situation, the Garda Commissioner will most likely institute disciplinary proceedings of the officers in question. At a conference organized by the protest group Dublin Shell to Sea last Thursday one of the women, Jerrie Ann Sullivan, said that she has very little faith in the investigation, echoing Dublin Shell to Sea’s calls for an international investigation of the Corrib police.
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