Majella Moynihan: ‘They thought they could break me’

Garda commissioner Drew Harris has asked to meet Majella Moynihan this week to make a personal apology.

Majella Moynihan: ‘They thought they could break me’

Garda commissioner Drew Harris has asked to meet Majella Moynihan this week to make a personal apology. Ms Moynihan, a former garda, has gone public about her treatment at the hands of garda bosses in the 1980s, when she was threatened with dismissal after having a child while unmarried.

At the age of 22, she was subjected to an internal garda investigation for giving birth and for having premarital sex with another garda recruit. She said she attempted to take her own life five times after putting the baby she had with another garda up for adoption in 1984.

“They thought they could break me, but they didn’t,” Ms Moynihan told The Sean O’Rourke Show on RTÉ yesterday. “I’m a strong woman. I’ve worked so hard over the years. They no longer have a hold over me. Today I’m free.”

At one stage, a year after her son was born and given up for adoption, she was told by a superior officer: “If it ever happens again, you’re sacked.”

She said she experienced horrific abuse during the disciplinary hearing for the father of her child.

“I will never forget that,” she said. “There were six men in the room. The only other woman was a stenographer. It felt like an eternity. It felt like I was in there for hours.”

Garda Representative Association (GRA) president Jim Mulligan yesterday condemned the “appalling” treatment of Ms Moynihan.

“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.” said Mr Mulligan.

“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 Síochána, including some of her colleagues.”

The GRA has the “highest admiration for the dignity and bravery” she has shown while making her story public, he added.

Ms Moynihan said she welcomed the news that Mr Harris will meet her.

“I really appreciate the fact that he’s going to meet me,” she said. “I can’t understand why my file was redacted and, why two years ago, I was told that my file had been destroyed.”

As to whether or not Ms Moynihan’s files still exist, garda sources suggested the situation was not clear. While there were reports that the files were missing or destroyed, sources said the files were being “looked for”.

“We are trying to put our hands on it,” said one source, “or at least on a record that would confirm it was destroyed and when.”

Sources said that if the files were still there, the first person to get them would be Ms Moynihan.

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