Tuesday 16 July 2019

'I want a face-to-face apology' - ex-garda threatened with dismissal for having baby outside of wedlock

Majella Moynihan asked An Garda Siochana for an apology
Majella Moynihan asked An Garda Siochana for an apology
Majella Moynihan as a young garda
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 garda 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 garda recruit in 1984 at age 22.

But after bravely telling her story, she says that “my shame is now theirs”.

Majella Moynihan as a young garda
Majella Moynihan as a young garda

She was investigated for a breach of discipline and was 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.”

Garda Commissioner Dreew Harris publicly apologised on Saturday and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan followed with a public apology today 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 gardai as young recruit on what she felt was the most exciting day of her life at that time.

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.

Independent.ie has put a number of questions to gardai 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.”

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