Dozens of Irish women who unknowingly had sexual relationships with undercover British police officers in Ireland demonstrated outside Scotland Yard on Monday.
The group of women, who were composed of both Irish and British citizens, say that the officers had not informed them at any point that they were monitoring left-wing and protest groups.
One protester, Belfast student Maeve McKeown, told the press: "In the United States, that would be considered as rape, because there was no informed consent."
The controversial conduct of the undercover policemen has become an embarrassment for the British police force, as it emerged in court last week that policeman Mark Kennedy had sexual relationships with a number of Irish women during the seven years he lived undercover among left wing protest groups and environmental activists in Ireland.
Two other undercover officers, against whom similar charges have been laid, have been identified since.
Although the women held broadly humorous signs that read "Keep Your Truncheon In Your Pockets" and "You Told Me The Handcuffs Were Kinky," their anger was genuine too.
Tracy Howard, who had campaigned for years – successfully, it turned out – against plans by the Labour government to build a third runway at Heathrow airport, told the press: "It was disgusting. I am a mother of a young daughter. I certainly would not have wanted my daughter, when she is old enough in a few years time, to be involved with someone like that, who lives a lie and has sex with people to get information."
The women are demanding that Scotland Yard identify all of the officers involved in the undercover operations. Meanwhile, one protester reportedly asked a young uniformed police officer standing guard just outside New Scotland Yard: "Did you know your agents were using sex with women like us to get information? It is a clear abuse of public office."
Where does the term “the luck of the Irish” come from?