Shatter says rape remarks 'exploited'

 

CORRIB PROTEST:MINISTER FOR Justice Alan Shatter has criticised some Corrib protesters, claiming they “exploited” the recent controversy over comments by gardaí.

He also rejected calls for an international inquiry into the policing of the Corrib gas project.

The controversy was sparked by publication of transcripts of a tape in which gardaí were heard speaking about raping a female protester who had been arrested.

Speaking yesterday at the Garda Representative Association conference, Mr Shatter said the remarks relating to the rape of a female protester were “offensive and wrong”.

But he said gardaí were provoked and abused by protesters who used the release of the tape for their “own political ends. Some people were intent on exploiting it.” He said the Corrib protest had cost the State €14 million in Garda overtime and he wished gardaí did not have to be involved in it.

“They have better things to be doing. I wish that the objectors, having argued their case with local authorities, An Bord Pleanála and in the courts, would accept the lawful outcome,” he said.

Mr Shatter said he was supportive of the Garda Commissioner’s position that the incident did not reflect the reality of the ethos of the force. He said the vast majority of gardaí were dedicated to public service.

“I am also disappointed, in a different way, at the attempts by some involved in the Corrib dispute to exploit this incident with the aim of undermining trust in the Garda Síochána and of compromising the policing of the dispute,” he said.

He rejected demands from some Corrib gas opponents to set up an inquiry into the policing of the protest for over a decade. He said such an inquiry was unnecessary and there was one under way by the Garda ombudsman.

“I have every confidence in the Garda ombudsman to conduct an independent investigation,” Mr Shatter said.