The watchdog for the Irish police force has said there were no grounds for a criminal case over an investigation into a “rape tape” controversy at the Shell to Sea campaign last March.

He advised the chief of the Irish police force to take disciplinary action against Sergeant James Gill, and one other officer involved. However, Sgt Gill will escape any disciplinary action, as he recently retired, according to the Irish Independent.

Three of the five police officers were exonerated in the inquiry, while the two others were found to have made comments for which they should be disciplined.

An investigation was launched after a video camera seized from two arrested female demonstrators at the Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo inadvertently recorded police joking about raping the women.

The two women had been arrested for public order offences connected with the on-going protests against installation works for the laying of a gas pipeline in the area.

The audio was made public by one of the protestors, Jerrie Ann Sullivan, who was handed back the recording device after her release. The second woman, believed to be American, did not wish to be named.

The ombudsman investigation stated that the four police officers involved gave "full and frank"  accounts and each confirmed that rape remarks were made by Sgt Gill. However, the retired sergeant "largely gave a 'no-comment' interview," it stated.

The watchdog has sent a report to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, recommending disciplinary proceedings against the other office involved.

In a statement issued by the Shell to Sea campaign, Jerrie Ann Sullivan, one of the women involved, has said that the Garda Ombudsman investigation into the incident has been "about protecting An Garda Síochána".

Sullivan said: "I'm not at all surprised at today's news, considering how An Garda Síochána, the Garda Ombudsman and Alan Shatter have handled this incident and the Corrib project generally. No Garda has ever been disciplined over policing of Corrib, as Corrib Gardaí are politically protected."

Approximate transcript of audio recording from camcorder

Sgt. A “Who is them two lassies – do you know the two of them?”
Garda B “I don’t know the second one, the first one is (refers to Ms. A) with blonde hair”.
Garda C “She was up on the tractor earlier on”.
Sgt. A “It’d do no harm to get the second one’s name again”.
Garda B “She’s some Yank. I don’t know who the fuck she is”.
Garda C “Is she a Yank?”
Garda B “It sounds like it, it sounds like it, the accent anyway”.
Garda D “Sounds like a Yank or Canadian”.
Garda B “Well whoever, we’ll get Immigration fucking on her”.
Sgt. A “She refused to give her name and address and told she would be arrested”.
Garda B “And deported”.
Sgt. A “And raped”.
Garda B “I wouldn’t go that far yet, she was living down at that crusty camp, fuck’s sake, you never know what you might get”.
Sgt. A “Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you”.
Garda C “Hold it there, give me your name and address, there, I’ll Facebook you”.
Sgt. A “Or I’ll definitely rape you”.
Garda C “Will you be me friend on Facebook?”

Jerrie Ann SullivanLaura Hutton/Photocall Ireland