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'It was shocking': GRA to speak to Commissioner over sacking of garda for 'alleged homosexual activity'

The Garda Commissioner recently confirmed to the former garda that this was the reason for his dismissal in 1982.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris recently confirmed to the former garda that he was dismissed because there were
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris recently confirmed to the former garda that he was dismissed because there were "suspicions" about alleged homosexual activity.
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE GARDA REPRESENTATIVE ASSOCIATION (GRA) has said it will be raising the dismissal of a garda in 1982 because he was gay with its next meeting with the Garda Commissioner.

The former gardaí first told his story to RTÉ’s Liveline programme in June. He said there was a “witch-hunt” in the gay community in Dublin after the murder of Charles Self, a well-known figure in the community and that he was targeted as part of it. 

The garda said he was called in front of a superintendent and told he was being investigated in relation to conduct that could discredit the force.

“I was asked did I know Charles Self and I said I did and that was as far as it went. It was quite brief but it was an intimidating atmosphere for me. I was 22 years of age. I was worried about my future in my job that I absolutely loved,” he said.

He said he was interviewed in 1982, after his meeting with the superintendent, at a garda station and finger-printed. Two days before he was due to be attested he said a sergeant and an inspector came to tell him to change out of his uniform and leave.

The man said he has been trying for years to get answers from the organisation about why he was dismissed. 

Yesterday Conor Lally reported in the Irish Times that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has now confirmed to the man that a document indicates he was dismissed due to suspicions of “alleged involvement in homosexual activity”.

The man said he welcomes the confirmation, but now wants to meet with the commissioner. At the time, it was against the law to engage in homosexual acts but it was not against the law to be gay. 

He said he has concealed his sexuality for his whole life “because that’s what this has done to me”. 

The GRA, which represents rank-and-file members of the organisation, told TheJournal.ie that this matter “needs to be dealt with by the garda organisation as a matter of urgency for our former colleague”.

“It was a shocking thing to happen and no garda should have felt compelled to resign in such personal circumstances.”

The association said it will be raising the matter with the commissioner at its next meeting with him.

A garda spokesperson declined to comment on Commissioner Harris’ correspondence with the former garda. 

“For privacy reasons An Garda Síochána does not comment on the details of an individual’s career in An Garda Síochána.”

This is the second high profile historical scandal Harris has had to handle recently. In June he also issued an apology to Majella Moynihan, a former garda who faced disciplinary action in 1983 after she became pregnant by a fellow garda. 

She said she still feels to this day that she was pressured into giving her son up for adoption. During a disciplinary hearing in 1985, after she had given birth to her son and he had been adopted, she had to give evidence in a disciplinary hearing against her baby’s father.

She was asked about her sexual relationship with him and her sexual history. The father of her child was fined £90 for his conduct.

The organisation ultimately decided not to take disciplinary action against Majella after the Archbishop of Dublin advised the commissioner at the time that it could encourage other female gardaí to travel to the UK for abortions.

She is now suing An Garda Síochána, the Justice Minister and the Irish State.

Are you a serving or former member of An Garda Síochána who has had a similar experience? We want to hear your story – contact michelle@thejournal.ie.

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