Tuesday 15 October 2019

Noonan does not remember details of Moynihan phone call


Michael Noonan. Photo: Mark Condren
Michael Noonan. Photo: Mark Condren
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Former Fine Gael minister Michael Noonan has said he does not remember telling Majella Moynihan that her case was an internal matter for An Garda Síochána.

Mr Noonan, who was justice minister between 1982 and 1986, has faced calls to clarify his knowledge of Ms Moynihan's harrowing case this week but he was reluctant to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday.

Ms Moynihan was a serving garda in the early 1980s when she became pregnant as a result of a relationship with another garda. She was subjected to an internal Garda investigation and claims she was shamed into giving up her baby son for adoption, and was threatened with dismissal by superiors.

On Monday, Ms Moynihan told RTÉ Radio that she spoke to Mr Noonan 10 years ago about her case.

"I actually rang him, spoke to him and he said this is an internal Garda [matter]. It was 10 years ago," she said.

But asked about this yesterday, Mr Noonan said: "I don't ever remember saying that." He told the Irish Independent "it's not for me to decide" whether what had happened to Ms Moynihan was right or not. "A lot of other people have commented. I am not commenting and thank you for your call," he said.

Ms Moynihan's case was first raised in media reports in 1985 although she was not identified at the time. In June 1985 Mr Noonan told the Dáil he had no role in the matter. He told TDs that under Garda regulations the enforcement of discipline within the force was a matter for the Garda authorities.

"I have no function in the matter. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to comment either on the specific case referred to or on the other issue raised," he said at the time.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week described Ms Monyihan's case as "wrong on every level" and she received an apology from Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Ms Moynihan did not respond to a request for comment last night.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section