News that the Red Cross, an international humanitarian organisation, have been directly assisting local community workers in the Rosemount area of Derryhas again heightened concerns of a potential “drugs epidemic” developing in the city.
The story first broke over the last few weeks prior to a BBC Spotlight programme investigating the vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs or RAAD. It revealed that the Red Cross has been working with the Rosemount Resource Centre over the past eight months, believed to be the first time ever the humanitarian group has worked with another organisation in the north.
Shell to Sea have released a very detailed report into the GSOC 'investigation' of the Garda at the center of the 'Corrib Cops Rape Tape' which first came to public attention one year ago today. The report reveals that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) engaged in spin and misinformation that misled the public over the Corrib ‘rape’ recording incident of March 2011 and undermined the case against Gardaí. The report details GSOC’s attempts to serve the interests of An Garda Síochána by undermining the women who made the recording public, while deflecting attention from the behaviour of Gardaí. The document was prepared by Shell to Sea with one of the women about whom the ‘rape’ comments were made and seven academics at NUI Maynooth. It has been made available online as a PDF and we are republishing it here.
In this personal account Jerrie Ann reveals the exraordinary pressure she was put under by GSOC after Garda in Corrib accidentally recorded themselves discussing threatening to rape a women she had been arrested with during a protest against Shell's experiemntal raw gas pipeline construction in Erris. "The GSOC ‘Public Interest Investigation’ has to date served only to mislead the media and the public about the facts of the case, which are actually straightforward" This piece was written as an appendix to the Shell to Sea report on the GSOC interim report.
This is a useful guide written by a barrister for Shell to Sea on what your rights are when stopped, and / or arrested by Garda. Garda seeking information or to frighten you will often mislead you as to what your rights are, its a good idea to have a basic understanding so that they quickly understand such methods are unlikely to work.
During the week the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission released an interim report on the Garda rape threat tape recordings that were revealed last April. The report contains a major error that suggests GSOC are the source of repeated attempts to spin the story in the media as somehow being the fault of the women the Garda were recorded discussing threatening to rape. The timing of the release of the report was also suspect, coming in the week Shell resumed construction and the day before a national day of action in Erris durig which four Shell to Sea campaigners were injured by Garda and/or private security violence. Such was the level of spin applied that some media made the mistake of leading with the news that the Garda had been cleared of something no one had ever accused them of, directly threatening the two women with rape.
Around 30 Republican prisoners continue to engage in a ‘dirty protest’ in Maghaberry prison over the failure of the Northern Ireland Administration and the Prison Officers Association to implement a facilitated agreement reached between all parties last August. This is part of a wider criminalisation policy to punish, brutalize and isolate prisoners which includes regular beatings and strip-searching - which remains the outstanding issue to be resolved. Similarly to the 1980/81 prison struggles, the prisoners are simply asking for their rights and dignity to be respected.
“Give me your name and address or I’ll rape you” - the words of a Garda Sgt as he discussed with at least two other Gardai how they were going to interrogate one of two female Shell to Sea campaigners they had arrested and who were being brought to Belmullet Garda station. Just second earlier while they were discussing how to interrogate the women one Garda suggested they threaten her with deportation. The Sgt responds with the addition of the rape threat which he repeats before another so far unidentified Garda chimes in with “hold it there, give me your name and address there, I’ll rape you” prompting the Sgt to repeat it one last time as “or I’ll definitely rape you.” [Listen to the 2 minute audio]
In what will be widely seen as a part of an ongoing cover up the the Gardai Ombudsman has released a report which claims Terence Wheelock was not mistreated in Store street Gardai station (where he died). Here we reproduce a long interview with his brother Larry who, along with the rest of the family, has spent years campaigning for justice for Terence.
The family and friends of Terence Wheelock are still waiting for a credible and complete account of what happened in the station from the Garda  . In 2005 they launched a campaign demanding an independent inquiry into the case.
The first thing I want to do is to commend the many people who have done sterling work to expose police corruption and unaccountability both in Ireland and elsewhere in recent years. In particular I want to commend the Wheelock family. One of the worst things that can happen any family is to lose a loved family member in circumstances such as the manner in which Terence was killed. To stand up to demand answers from the organs of the state is extremely difficult in such circumstances. To withstand harassment as a result to the extent that the Wheelock family have done compounds the difficulty. Wilting in the face of such harassment would be understandable. But that’s not going to happen. And that level of strength and courage is an example to all of us.
Over 200 people packed into the Royal Dublin Hotel on Dublin’s O’Connell Street in early December for a public meeting on the topic ‘Democracy and Policing: How accountable are the gardaí to the Irish people?’ The meeting was addressed by
• Larry Wheelock whose brother Terence died in suspicious circumstances in Store Street Garda Station in Dublin over two years ago (see ‘Something Rotten in Store Street’ in WS99)