Tuesday 23 July 2019

'Apologise to my face,' says ex-garda shamed into giving up baby

Majella Moynihan asked for an apology
Majella Moynihan asked for an apology
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Former garda Majella Moynihan, who felt forced to give up her child for adoption in the 1980s after becoming pregnant out of marriage, is seeking a face-to-face apology from the Garda Commissioner.

Meanwhile, allegations of a "whispering campaign" against other officers and recruits who became pregnant outside of marriage have emerged in the aftermath of the scandal.

Ms Moynihan was subject to an investigation and threatened with dismissal after becoming pregnant by another recruit in 1984 when she was 22. But after bravely telling her story, she says that "my shame is now theirs".

She was investigated for a breach of discipline and later charged with two counts under the 1971 Garda Síochána Regulations. The charges were related to premarital sex and giving birth outside of marriage.

Ms Moynihan, from Kanturk, Co Cork, told RTÉ: "I kept the secret for so many years, it was so much shame and now it's no longer my story of shame, it's their shame.

"I feel vindicated, I feel believed, people know me now in my truth. I know no one can make you feel anything now but back then they did, they made me feel that small.

"All I kept hearing was discredit on the Garda force."

Commissioner Drew Harris publicly apologised on Saturday and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan followed with a public apology yesterday. But Ms Moynihan is not satisfied.

"I've heard from nobody and I strongly believe and feel that both of those people should have come to me first," she said.

"It's of vital importance that I meet Commissioner Harris and he meets me and he apologises to me and also gives me a written apology.

"Yes, I'd be happy and content with that."

Ms Moynihan said she wanted "just to get on with my life now", and to find "happiness with my two sons. It's a new beginning for me."

She had joined the Garda force as a young recruit on what she felt was the most exciting day of her life.

But she told RTÉ Radio One how she was later subject to an investigation and threatened with dismissal after becoming pregnant.

The former garda said she felt pressured to give up her baby, a boy named David, adopted in 1984.

The Irish Independent put questions to the Garda yesterday but was informed the information was held by "administrative offices", open during standard office hours.

Meanwhile, Susan Lohan, co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA), said: "Majella is aware of other officers and recruits who became pregnant outside of marriage while in the force but she's only aware of herself being charged.

"Some of them had abortions, some went away, some went to England.

"There was a whispering campaign carried out against all of them."

Irish Independent

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