Majella Moynihan who faced dismissal from Garda over birth of son begins court action
Former garda who lost job in 1980s sues State for loss of earnings and personal injury
Majella Moynihan was charged in the 1980s with breaching the force’s disciplinary rules for having premarital sex with another garda, becoming pregnant and having a child. File photograph: RTÉ
Majella Moynihan, the former garda who faced dismissal over the birth of her son outside of marriage, is taking two legal actions against the State. One is to recover the money she lost when her policing career was cut short and the second is to seek personal injury compensation.
She was charged in the 1980s with breaching the force’s disciplinary rules for having premarital sex with another garda, becoming pregnant and having a child.
Having spoken publicly for the first time earlier this year about what she endured, she said she was pressured to give up her baby son for adoption at the time. She was then in her early 20s.
While she continued in the Garda, she left after 15 years’ service saying others in the force “portrayed me as an easy woman”.
After she spoke out in June she received an apology from the Garda Commissioner and the Department of Justice.
Ms Moynihan has now lodged initial papers in the High Court, via solicitor Seán Costello. She is suing the Department of Justice, the Garda Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The second action she has initiated against the State is effectively a personal injuries case based on the trauma and harm Ms Moynihan says was done to her.
The financial side of her action will include her claim for lost earnings over a 15- to 20-year period, according to sources familiar with the case.
She is also seeking to recoup her lost pension as well as the significant gratuity payment she missed out on because she left the force early.
There is a two-year statute of limitations on such claims. However, such a time limit can be extended if it can be proved that someone was unable to come forward due to the psychological impact their case had on them.
Garda members must work for at least 30 years until they qualify for a pension but can continue working until they are aged 60 years.
Garda members who serve the full pensionable period also receive a once-off payment of about 1½ times their salary when they leave.