Former garda sacked in 1982 for being gay now suing State

Action now being taken against Garda, Department of Justice, Attorney General’s office

‘Liam’ still has his notebooks from 1982

A former garda who was dismissed from the force in 1982 for being gay is now suing the State.

The former garda, who went public in The Irish Times last year using the pseudonym “Liam”, is suing the State on several grounds including the manner of his treatment, the distress caused by it and the impact of that on his life.

Earnings foregone, including his salary and the Garda pension he would have been entitled to, all form part of the legal papers he has served, via his solicitors, on the Garda Commissioner, Department of Justice and Attorney General’s office.

The action states the former garda was never charged with any disciplinary issue or criminal offence and that no negative findings were ever arrived at in relation to him within the Garda.


It further states that at the time of his dismissal he was not informed of any reason why he was being “summarily dismissed”, which occurred despite internal reviews of his performance stating his work was “excellent”.

Despite beginning a search for information about his dismissal as far back as 1987, he received nothing until last summer after going public.

In reply to queries Garda Headquarters said: "An Garda Síochána does not comment on matters that are before the courts or in the process of being before the courts."

Last year, after "Liam" went public with his story, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris made documents from 1982 available to him confirming his services were "dispensed of" due to "suspicions of your alleged involvement in homosexual activity".


He was dismissed just days before his two-year probationary period in the Garda was about to expire, at which point he would have passed out and become a fully attested member of the force.

“Liam” was ordered out of a briefing one evening at the Dublin Garda station where he was based, told to take off his uniform and was ordered to leave the station. A number of Garda members were later sent to his home to take his second uniform, Garda-issue coat, torch, Garda belt and other items.

He is now suing the State claiming he was denied equality under the law because of his sexuality and that his human rights were breached as a result.

The action taken by “Liam” also claims his rights to fair procedure were breached in that he was never told why he was being dismissed and therefore never afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

He further claims his treatment at the hands of the Garda stigmatised him, denied him of his career in the force and his livelihood and pension. His case is also that the harm done to him was compounded by Garda management refusing to engage with him after his dismissal from the late 1980s, through the present day.

The defendants in the case must now respond to the former Garda’s statement of claim and the case would then be settled out of court or would advance to a full court hearing.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times