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GRA 'distances itself' from 1985 comment that garda's pregnancy 'not appropriate behaviour'

President Jim Mulligan said he wanted to express the GRA’s admiration for the “dignity and bravery” of the former garda.

THE GARDA REPRESENTATIVE ASSOCIATION (GRA) said it wants to distance itself from any criticism of a garda who was subject to a disciplinary investigation in the 80s after she became pregnant. 

Majella Moynihan almost lost her job because she had pre-marital sex with another garda and gave birth to a child outside marriage. She has said she felt pressured by the force into giving her baby David up for adoption.

Her story was featured in RTÉ’s Documentary on One on Saturday. 

The documentary also included audio from radio programme Day by Day in 1985 on the day Moynihan’s story (without her name) was covered in the newspapers. 

Jack Marrinan, then general secretary of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), was interviewed by the programme. He was critical of Moynihan, who, as a rank-and-file officer, was represented by his association:

“The Association wouldn’t like it to go out, I wouldn’t like it to go out – because I am a father of young ladies myself and there are other young ladies who may be listening from time to time – I would not like anybody to think that this would be regarded as the normal condition or appropriate behaviour,” he said. 

The Garda Siochana has within it a relatively small number of bangardaí, only a few hundred, and by and large they are an extremely highly moral group of ladies.

“I see the Garda Siochana as people who should be giving a lead and I think the rules which our society – up until now anyway – expect us to obey should generally speaking be obeyed by gardaí as well.”

The Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice have both issued apologies for the way Majella Moynihan was treated. Source: RTÉ

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, current GRA President Jim Mulligan said the GRA of today “distances itself from any implication that Majella had done anything wrong”.

He said the GRA wanted to express its “highest admiration for the dignity and bravery” of Moynihan in speaking out about her treatment.

“In speaking publicly about her ordeal as a pregnant single woman, Majella laid bare a litany of shocking and disgraceful behaviours on the part of the Garda Siochána – including some of her colleagues,” he said.

Majella’s experience was a product of a time in which people in a position of power were influenced by social values which had profound disregard for women.

Mulligan said the GRA is seeking a full recording of the 1985 Day by Day interview with Jack Marrinan that was broadcast as part of the documentary.

“The GRA of today distances itself from any implication that Majella had done anything wrong and would robustly defend any attempt to victimise a woman on the grounds that led to the disciplinary hearing against her.

“We also note the child’s father was subject to a disciplinary hearing in which Majella was called as a witness, which is another disgraceful aspect of this shocking episode,” Mulligan said.

This morning Moynihan told RTE’s Today with Seán O’Rourke that she was “shunned by a lot of other members of the force” at the time. However she said many of her garda colleagues have apologised to her since the documentary came out. 

“What I’d like to say to them is that they were the best they could. I hold every one of them in the height of esteem. It was the system. It was the officers. From inspector rank upwards,” she said. 

The Garda Commissioner, who issued a public apology to Moynihan over the weekend, has now sought a meeting with her so he can personally apologise for how she was treated by the organisation. 

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