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Former garda Majella Moynihan files court case suing gardaí, Dept of Justice and the State

Last month, Moynihan told RTÉ she faced disciplinary action within the force after becoming pregnant in the 1980s.

Majella Moynihan, inset, was at Templemore, pictured, in 1983 when she had a relationship with a fellow garda recruit.
Majella Moynihan, inset, was at Templemore, pictured, in 1983 when she had a relationship with a fellow garda recruit.
Image: RTÉ/RollingNews.ie

A FORMER GARDA has filed a High Court case against the Minister for Justice, the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána and the Irish state, a month after she said publicly she faced disciplinary action within the force after becoming pregnant in the 1980s.

Majella Moynihan shared her story for the first time last month on RTÉ Radio 1′s Documentary on One, about the effect the “vicious” investigation had on her, and about how she still feels to this day that she was pressured into giving her son up for adoption.

The case was filed yesterday with the High Court, but there is no date known at this stage for when it will progress to hearings.

In February 1985, the story of a female garda who had sex with another garda and became pregnant made headlines after the force decided she wouldn’t be disciplined.

Majella Moynihan, who was 22 years old at the time, was the garda at the centre of the case.

She had met a fellow garda recruit at the training college in Templemore in 1983, and they began a relationship.

While Majella suspected her pregnancy would create difficulties for her, she was at that point unaware that news of her pregnancy had spread through Garda ranks and had gone as far as the Garda Commissioner’s Office.

As the result of an internal Garda investigation for breach of discipline, Majella was asked to provide a full statement regarding her relationship with the recruit garda, the times she had sexual intercourse with him, her pregnancy, the birth of their baby and her intention to have the baby adopted.

Directly after his birth, Majella’s son David was initially placed in foster care before being legally adopted in December 1984. Majella says she felt then and still feels to this day that she was coerced into signing the adoption papers.

She remained a member of An Garda Síochána until 1998, when she sought early retirement.

Last month, Commissioner Drew Harris issued an apology on behalf of An Garda Síochána. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan also said he’d be apologising to Moynihan in person

TheJournal.ie has contacted legal representatives for Majella Moynihan for comment. 

A spokesperson for the gardaí said: “We are not in a position to comment on matters before the Courts. The Commissioner has provided a public and personal apology to Ms Moynihan on behalf of An Garda Síochána.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said: “We do not comment on individual cases. It is normal practice for the Minister for Justice and Equality to be listed as a defendant in cases taken against An Garda Síochána.”

With reporting from Adam Daly

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Sean Murray

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