GARDA ON TRIAL OVER RAPE COMMENT ALLEGATIONS
A large crowd of over 100 people gathered outside Belmullet Garda Station in North Mayo on Saturday to call for an independent and international investigation into the policing of protests at the Corrib Gas site.
The protest, which was organised by Shell to Sea, comes as the conduct of several Gardai is under scrutiny following the release of a tape in which alleged rape comments were made.
The meeting called for the Gardai involved in the incident, who have since been transferred to `desk duties’, to be suspended.
Two investigations, one Garda internal and the other via the Garda Ombudsman are underway. However, the failure to invoke precautionary suspension leads many to believe that the Irish authorities will try to `whitewash’ the incident. Already some pro-government and conservative elements of the Irish media have tried to downplay the gravity of the allegations.
This most recent dispute over Garda conduct in policing the Corrib Gas project is just the latest in a litany of complaints about biased and heavy-handed behaviour by police.
Many external organisations (including the Celtic League) have expressed
concerns (see links):
The new concentration on Garda conduct comes as the US State Department in their authoritative global human rights report also focus on the number of Garda complaints.
The 2010 report says:
“Siochana (national police) Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) alleged 3,509 instances of incorrect behavior by the police, of which 1,178 were deemed inadmissible. The GSOC also received 1,543 queries from the general public relating to the procedure for filing complaints. The largest number of allegations related to abuse of authority, followed by neglect of duty. Approximately 15 percent of the allegations were for nonfatal offenses against the person. The overall number of complaints and allegations against police officers decreased approximately 15-25 percent from the previous year.”
The final sentence would seem to indicate a positive trend. However, given the official response to the Mayo rape comment allegations, the question to be asked is – Are public complaints about Garda behaviour decreasing because they are not taken seriously?
Yesterday protesters in Belmullet were right to call for an independent international investigation as it appears domestic institutions are not up to providing a level of scrutiny to An Garda Siochana that is effective.
For information full (Ireland) report from the US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor here:
Related links on Celtic News:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
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