The Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, has praised the work of gardaí in Mayo who police the Corrib Gas project, where he said over the years they have been doing their job “professionally”.
Speaking at the annual Garda Representative Association conference in Westport, Mr Callinan said that the role of gardaí who police the Shell project is to ensure that the community and those who work in the Corrib project can go about their business in “a peaceful manner”.
However, the Garda Commissioner condemned those “people who are hell bent on arriving in the west of Ireland with a propensity or an intention towards violence or violent behaviour” as “matters of public disorder occur”.
In light of the recent ‘rape tape’ controversy the commissioner said that he supported the Garda Ombudsman’s investigation into the incident.
The Minster for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter, who addressed the conference on Wednesday, said that remarks made on the ‘rape tape’ were “offensive and wrong”. However the Minister criticised some protesters who have exploited the incident “with the aim of undermining trust in An Garda Síochána, and of compromising the policing of the dispute”.
Mayo Fine Gael Deputy Michelle Mulherin denounced the ‘rape tape’ comments “which take from the good work these gardaí and other members of the force are carrying out on a daily basis”.
County councillor Gerry Murray has commented that “it was totally unacceptable to have senior gardaí who were involved in the country’s most sensitive policing issue, namely the Corrib gas dispute, retiring and then taking up paid positions with either Integrated Risk Management Services or Shell E&P Ireland Ltd.”
The Sinn Fein councillor added: “Such activities only serve to fuel suspicions that a culture of collusion prevails between the gardaí and Shell.”