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Corrib protest woman says she had ‘no choice’ but to reveal her identity

Jerrie Ann Sullivan claims at press conference that her details were leaked to media by gardai.

Jerrie Ann Sullivan
Jerrie Ann Sullivan

ONE OF THE women at the centre of the Corrib ‘rape’ remarks tape controversy has named herself at a press conference as Jerrie Ann Sullivan, a postgraduate student from Dublin.

The Shell to Sea protest group told TheJournal.ie this morning that Sullivan had decided to waive her anonymity because she had been warned that gardai had leaked her name and address, and that of the other woman, to reporters.

At the conference at Buswell’s Hotel in Dublin, Sullivan said:

I didn’t want to be here. We want to be left alone. This is not about us. This is about women’s safety and about the ongoing intimidation of the communities living close to Shell’s inland refinery in Mayo

However, she said that she felt she had no choice after a journalist showed up at the address which she said she had given officers at Belmullet Garda station as her home address:

On Tuesday 5 April Caoimhe Kerins (Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson) received a phone call informing her that Gardai had released to several journalists the names and addresses of both myself and the other woman. Within hours a journalist called to the address in Dublin that I had given to Gardai in Belmullet.

She said that after hearing the tape, “I am not left with very much hope”.

Sullivan said she felt that the impact of the controversy must be wider than the contents of the tape alone. She added: “The roots of this incident can’t be addressed by sacking a guard.”

She also claimed that a woman had been “assaulted” by a member of the gardai “a couple of days ago” and that she had “had to see a doctor”. In a statement she said:

Within hours of the announcement of the Garda inquiry into the recordings of Gardai talking about raping people in their custody, their colleagues were continuing with their normal methods by intimidating and physically assaulting other campaigners. At the same site at Aughoose on Tuesday (5 April) a woman was punched in the stomach by a Garda.

The other woman referenced in the video tape released by the Shell to Sea group earlier this week “is not in a position to be identified”, according to Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins. She also asked that the anonymity and boundaries imposed be respected, and commended the women on their bravery.

Corrib protest woman says she had ‘no choice’ but to reveal her identity
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  • Shell to Sea press conference

    Photographers turn their lenses on Jerrie Ann Sullivan and TD Joe Higgins at today's press conference. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Images
  • Shell to Sea press conference

    John Monaghan speaking at today's press conference Pic: Niall Carson/PA Images

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said he was backing Shell to Sea and the women’s calls for an independent inquiry into the policing situation at the Corrib gas project. He said:

The attitude displayed by the guards is similar to an army of occupation. We now know from witness statements what happens when the media aren’t around.

He also said that “the whole country was horrified” by the apparent joking about rape captured on the video tape.

People Before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett also spoke at the conference, saying that he would be asking about a private security company setting up roadblocks around the protest area. He claimed that the gardai were influenced in their treatment of Corrib protestors by orders from above:

There must have been an atmostphere from the top of ‘Go in hard on these people’.

John Monaghan, a member of the Pobal Chill Chomáin community pressure group in Mayo, claimed that “these incidents are not isolated”. He was referring also to a tape recording of what he claimed to be a garda making derogatory sexual comments about his wife in 2006 during a protest at Ballinaboy. Monaghan released a transcript of that tape this morning, and it can be listened to here.

He told reporters that on the morning of the 2006 protest “gardai began to lose their discipline… they started manhandling people”. Monaghan claimed:

This is an ongoing campaign of intimidation of the local community.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has received a report into the rape remarks tape, according to RTE. He is expected to make a statement at some point this afternoon.

Shell to Sea is calling for an independent international inquiry into the policing of protests around the Corrib Gas project.

-Additional reporting by Susan Daly

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