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Justice Minister to 'apologise in person' to Majella Moynihan in the coming days

Moynihan almost lost her job because she had pre-marital sex with another garda and gave birth to a child outside marriage.

Majella Moynihan
Majella Moynihan
Image: RTÉ

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Charlie Flanagan has said he plans to meet ex-garda Majella Moynihan in the coming days to “apologise in person” over the treatment she faced after becoming pregnant in the 1980s.

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. 

In a statement today, Flanagan said he “sincerely regrets the appalling ordeal that Ms Moynihan faced as a young Garda member.”

“The treatment she has described was simply wrong on every level.  In fact, it is shocking,” Flanagan added. 

“As a young Garda, she should have been able to expect that the Garda organisation would offer her support at a time when she was most in need of it.”

‘A highly intolerant country’

In the RTÉ documentary, Moynihan says she was interrogated and faced dismissal from An Garda Síochána for having pre-marital sex with another trainee garda. She said she felt pressured by the force into giving her baby David up for adoption.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke yesterday morning, Moynihan aid that trainee guards in Templemore were never told they could not pursue relationships with each other but that she was “questioned” a lot about it.

“They looked down on the fact that we were having relationships down there. It was quite prevalent, we weren’t the only couple . When I look at my file it was prevalent but it wasn’t something that they were grateful or happy that I was in.”

I find it extremely difficult that our morals were brought into disrepute that they felt they could charge me with something like that, they never once said that women were not to do this.

The justice minister has said that he expects the issue of Moynihan’s pension to be discussed when he meets her, adding that “it is profoundly disappointing that she did not receive that support, and that, on the contrary, she feels she was treated harshly by the Garda organisation.”

“For many decades, Ireland was a country that was highly intolerant of difference,” Flanagan has said.

“Women suffered particularly as did members of the LGBTI community, those with disabilities, and other minorities. Society then functioned in a way that would be regarded as completely unacceptable by our standards today.”

Flanagan added that he hopes to meet Moynihan with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris – who issued an apology on Sunday – in the coming days. 

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