Garda under increasing pressure over Moynihan disciplinary files

Majella Moynihan told unredacted versions of the files had been lost or destroyed

Majella Moynihan first requested files relating to her disciplinary process in late 2004, but the request was rejected. Photograph: RTÉ

Majella Moynihan first requested files relating to her disciplinary process in late 2004, but the request was rejected. Photograph: RTÉ


An Garda Síochána is coming under increasing pressure to clarify the whereabouts of files relating to the disciplinary case against Majella Moynihan, the former Garda who faced possible dismissal over the birth of her son outside of marriage.

Ms Moynihan has assembled a dossier of internal Garda documents relating to her case and released to her by the force, but much of the material is redacted. Susan Lohan, who works for the Adoption Rights Alliance, is a friend of Ms Moynihan and worked on her case. She told The Irish Times that when Ms Moynihan requested the unredacted versions of the files in 2017, she was told they had been lost or destroyed.

“We need to establish if Majella’s file was destroyed or merely stashed somewhere for safe keeping. We need to know who sanctioned the destruction, if it was. If it cannot be found, it is incumbent on [Garda Commissioner] Drew Harris to reconstruct that file,” she said.

Ms Moynihan first requested files relating to her disciplinary process in late 2004, but the request was rejected, Ms Lohan said. She gradually assembled the redacted versions of the files over a period of years, but was told in 2017 that the unredacted versions could not be located.

Every effort made

Catherine Murphy, the Social Democrats TD, has been in contact with Ms Moynihan for a period of months. “[The files] existed not that long ago, but now they appear to be missing,” Ms Murphy said. “Every effort has to be made to find those files.”

Fianna Fail justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said Ms Moynihan is entitled to an explanation from the Garda Commissioner as to why a file which had been located for redaction in recent years could not be found.

“The Garda went to the effort of considering and redacting the file,” he said. “The fact that file was then lost is very surprising.”

The Garda press office had not responded to queries about the files at time of publication.

The Garda Representative Association praised Ms Moynihan for her “dignity and bravery”. It said it was seeking a full recording of an interview broadcast on RTÉ in which its former general secretary Jack Marrinan commented in 1985.

“The GRA of today distances itself from any implication that Majella had done anything wrong and would robustly defend any attempt to victimise a woman on the grounds that led to the disciplinary hearing against her,” the organisation said.

Separately, Ms Lohan called on former Fine Gael leader Michael Noonan, who was Minister for Justice at the time, to state what he knew about the case.

Ms Moynihan said on Monday that she spoke with Mr Noonan ten years ago, and he told her that it was an internal Garda matter. Mr Noonan did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Attempted suicide

Speaking on the Today with Sean O’Rourke show on Monday, Ms Moynihan said she attempted suicide five times in the wake of her treatment by the gardaí. She gave up her son for adoption after his birth.

She was 22 when she was charged, under Garda Síochána regulations, with having premarital sex with another garda and with having given “birth to a child outside of wedlock”.

She said on Monday that an assistant commissioner told her in 1989 that she was “history” in the force. In a lengthy interview, in which she broke down several times, she said another senior officer told her she would be fired if she became pregnant outside of marriage again.

She also said she was told that had she had an abortion, she would not have brought the force into disrepute, as she had done by having the baby.

Both the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice are set to meet with Ms Moynihan, although a time and date has not yet been set.