Commissioner expected to deliver personal apology to Majella Moynihan

Commissioner expected to deliver personal apology to Majella Moynihan
Majella Moynihan in 1988

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is to deliver a personal apology to Majella Moynihan, who was threatened with dismissal from An Garda Síochana for having pre-marital sex with another garda recruit and for giving birth to a baby out of wedlock.

Ms Moynihan had two charges preferred against her in 1984 for conduct “prejudicial to discipline or likely to bring discredit on the Force”, namely that she had sex with a garda recruit out of wedlock and became pregnant and secondly, that she “gave birth to a child out of wedlock”. The father of her child was fined £90.

She was not convicted when the Archbishop of Dublin advised the Garda Commissioner that such a conviction might encourage other gardaí to travel to Britain for abortions.

Yesterday a garda spokesperson said: “Arrangements will be made tomorrow [Monday] to provide Ms Moynihan with a personal apology from the Commissioner.”

Mr Harris previously apologised to whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe on behalf of An Garda Síochána for the manner in which he was treated by former colleagues.

Ms Moynihan, from Kanturk, Co Cork, was aged 22 at the time and felt pressurised by her employer to put her baby son, David, up for adoption.

She took early retirement from the force in 1998.

Telling her story for the first time this weekend to RTÉ Radio, Ms Moynihan said: “They discharged me on the grounds of infirmity of mind.”

She went through the reports and noted they said she was suffering from depression, “but they never brought it back to their treatment of me”.

Her files, which she obtained in 2010, were heavily redacted.

Commissioner expected to deliver personal apology to Majella Moynihan

Yesterday, Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said they subsequently encouraged Ms Moynihan to make another application for her files, which she did in 2017, but was told her files could not be found.

Ms Lohan said she “did not believe this for a second”.

She said that while Mr Harris’ apology was welcome and that he was “coming to this with clean hands”, he had “no idea what he was apologising for” without having full sight of what was in the files.

“He has no idea how things operated historically here, but it is up to him to make sure he establishes what happened to those files,” said Ms Lohan. “He needs to establish if they have been destroyed, and if so, who is responsible.”

She said if necessary, An Garda Síochána should be tasked with “taking the redactions and piecing the whole thing together”.

A garda spokesperson said: “In general, such records, particularly those dating back 20 to 30 years, are held by administrative offices that are not open at weekends.”

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has also apologised for the manner in which Ms Moynihan was treated.

Ms Moynihan is now married to the father of her second child, Stephen, born in 1997. She has also been reunited with David.

- Additional reporting by Cormac O’Keeffe and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith

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