Belfast Telegraph

Garda boss tight-lipped on proposed full pension for ex-officer

Penalised: Majella Moynihan
Penalised: Majella Moynihan

By Aoife Moore

The Republic's top policeman has refused to be drawn on whether a former officer pressured to give up her child when she became pregnant outside of marriage after joining the Garda in the 1980s should receive a full pension.

Majella Moynihan had wanted to keep the baby, but was penalised by senior gardai.

The father of the child was also a Garda trainee. He received a fine.

During an Oireachtas Committee yesterday, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee told Commissioner Drew Harris that hearing Ms Moynihan's story made her "sick in the pit of her stomach".

Her case became known after she was interviewed for an RTE radio documentary. She has attempted suicide five times in the time since and receives a discounted pension due to leaving the force on health grounds.

Ms Clifford-Lee said: "Majella Moynihan's story reflects the distressing reality of what life was like for women in Ireland not so long ago.

"It was heartbreaking listening to her, joining the guards she felt liberated from her upbringing, and instead of that bright future she was doled out horrible abuse, interrogated and forced to give her baby up.

"She was treated like a scarlet woman by colleagues, and told by an assistant Garda Commissioner in 1989 her career would go nowhere because of her history."

Ms Clifford-Lee highlighted Ms Moynihan does not receive a full Garda pension, and asked the Commissioner if he would now support a full pension payment.

"These are matters now the subject of negotiations with solicitors, and I wish to reserve my position," Mr Harris replied.

The Garda Commissioner and former PSNI deputy Chief Constable met with Ms Moynihan last week to apologise for the treatment she endured.

"I did meet with Majella and her solicitor and it was very clear any communication from here on was all to go through her solicitor," Mr Harris added.

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