‘I Was Treated Like A Pariah’

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An Garda Síochána; Garda cars for Pride this weekend

Yesterday.

On RTÉ’s Liveline.

A gay former Garda, going by the name of Matthew, told presenter Joe Duffy that he was dismissed from the guards in the 1980s without any explanation.

He said, in 1982, after the murder of RTE worker Charles Self, whom he knew, he was told to go to Dublin Castle and present himself to a superintendent.

There, Matthew was told that he was being investigated for conduct “which would bring discredit on the force”.

Matthew, who was 22 at the time, then had to give a statement and his fingerprints were taken. He was also asked if he knew Charles Self, who was also gay.

Matthew said he himself wasn’t ask if he was gay.

He said he was subsequently interviewed in Pearse Street Garda Station and fingerprinted again.

He said in June 1982 – two days before he was due to be attested – a sergeant and an inspector arrived at the parade room where Matthew was with his colleagues and he was ordered out of the room.

He recalled:

“My colleagues were shocked.

“I was given ten minutes to strip and get out of the station. No reason, nothing.

“I left the station, my sergeant directed me, well, he advised me – he said ‘don’t leave, stay where you are, come in and parade for duty tomorrow night, I’ll fight this’.

“But I hadn’t….I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I came home and the following day or the day after, the local gardai came down to remove any further items of Garda property – you would have had another uniform, you’d have a winter uniform, you’d have a grey coat, baton, notebook, torches, things like that.

“And they came down, they removed all the items. And, I just, my life, really the following ten years, spiralled downwards.

“I started to get myself together after five years and I wrote to the Garda Commissioner asking to be reinstated and I got a letter back to say they weren’t going to reverse their decision at this stage.”

Matthew said he has never received an explanation for this dismissal.

He added that he sought a copy of his personal file from Garda HQ in 2000/2001 but his request was declined.

He was told he could view his file, while being supervised, at Garda HQ but he declined the invited.

He then wrote again to the human resources department of An Garda Síochána in 2014. He also wrote to GSOC.

Eventually he got a redacted personal file in August 2014 – with the unredacted sections showing he was an exemplary guard.

He said he’s written to the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan but has been “stonewalled”.

He said:

“I look on Twitter and I see the Pride march next Saturday, they’re going to have two cars bedecked with the Pride flag and I mean, it’s only 36 years ago, 35 years ago, I was treated like a pariah.”

He added:

“This is one thing I need closure on. Why? Why?”

“…and the charade of having the two cars in the Pride parade. It’s a charade, it’s window-dressing.”

Matthew told Mr Duffy he’s seeking to obtain his full file unredacted; he wants a reason for his sacking; and he wants an apology.

Listen back in full here

37 thoughts on “‘I Was Treated Like A Pariah’

  1. eoin

    In 1982, 11 years before homosexuality was decriminalised, I’m surprised he wasn’t prosecuted as well as being kicked off the service (or “force” as it was, back then).

    That said, was that really the human resources legal framework in 1982, you could be dismissed without reason during a probationary period? Maybe it was.

    1. Cian

      I would assume that AGS would have avoided the prosecution if possible as it would portray The Force in a bad light

    2. Slightly Bemused

      Generally even today if you are in a probation period you can be let go with little or no warning. And for some matters even later you can be summarily dismissed (gross violations of company policy, for example). But in both cases it is normal to be informed why, and an appeal process should be available to you.

      What gets me in this and the case of Majella reported earlier is the complete lack of human decency in dealing with the matters.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        “He said he’s written to the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan but has been “stonewalled”.”

        1. A Person

          “he said”. Again why does any current politician have to be accountable for something that happened 35! years ago.

          1. GiggidyGoo

            Flanagan’ involvement is current as Minister having been written to. He is ignoring the correspondence.

      2. Hector Ramirez

        One could ask that, but he came out and apologised to Majella Moynihan, so he has set a precedent…

  2. postmanpat

    “a jayzuz its terrible Joe ” Yawwwwwwnnn!! So is he looking for public apology so he can complain he didn’t get a private apology? or is he looking for a private apology so he can complain he didn’t get a public apology? I cant wait to find out what happe…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    1. SOQ

      And you feel the same about Majella Moynihan or is it just the gays you think should shut up?

      1. postmanpat

        actually yes , I’ve no sympathy for guards whether they are serving , were coerced to resign (but didn’t and gave up their child instead and chose the social authority of a police position) or fired. Its not a nice profession and its not for nice people. Majella doesn’t strike me as a particularly nice person. Even if she was bullied. the guard treat civilians as children , they have lofty opinion of themselves. the gay fella was better of out of the force altogether.

        1. A Person

          Good man Pat. The guards have no rights in our society. Thems are all bullies and culchies. Are you a peaceful protester (otherwise known as a sponger) by any chance?

          1. postmanpat

            I’ve been working consistently for the last 22 years. Well…..”employed” at least , HA , I wouldn’t say I’m doing much “work” today in fairness, ( right guys??!! ). As for doley spongers, I dislike them even more than the fuzz and silly Joe Duffy whiney liveline callers.

          2. Al Bin Man

            @giggidy

            Do you remember a few weeks back when the Limerick FG meeting was crashed by Connolly Youth, some lad could be heard shouting “do you have a job?”

            Oh my sides

          3. A Person

            I’ve no interest in politics or politicians. I just call out bs merchants. I hate when people say that the guards are scum etc. Who do they call when they are robbed, or their kids are assaulted? Let me guess, you are a shinner. Commiserations and ha fecking ha on the elections.

    2. phil

      Jazsus, well I’m glad he revealed his story , now this may be (alanis morissette) ironic, they were worried about him bringing disrepute to the the force in 1982, if he didn’t then , he is sure doing so now, or alternatively , they did it to themselves in 1982, and he is now giving them an opportunity to apologize , which might improve their reputation today….

  3. Al Bin Man

    Fair play to Joe Duffy

    Gets paid €409,000 per year to deaden peoples brains and drag every single whining windbag out in the maelstrom of the public eye to get filthy advertising lucre

  4. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

    I didn’t know about the Charles Self murder
    So thank you, Broadsheet, once again reminding us of another unsolved murder

    RIP Charles

    Very sorry to hear Matthew’s story too

    and it certainly defines the criticism of PRIDE in recent years
    For me anyway
    AGS and other State Instutuions and Brand led Corporations, instead of dolling themselves up and joining in the party might want to get their own houses in order before they start tweeting videos of themselves

    1. SOQ

      +1 but, the other side is that gay guards / PSNI are making a statement inwards to their organisations as well as outward to the general public.

      Change never comes easy and unfortunately usually doesn’t happen over night. I personally don’t think it should be an all or nothing situation.

    1. SOQ

      In response to a GDPR request, any text which identifies other individuals must be redacted, so he is likely to get even more redaction than previously.

      Still, could be worth a shot because while the actors names may be blacked out, the reason for his dismissal may also be evident. The redaction would depend on whiter a person is still alive or not too I expect.

      What this boils down to is that if a person was even suspected of being gay- they got the boot.

      1. Pip

        Wasn’t one of the reasons given for the dim view of gayness in security/political circles that they could be ‘got at’ by sinister actors?

        1. Pip

          ….And of course the security services found it useful to be able to compromise certain ‘useful’people and maintain a flow of intelligence. Kincora.

        2. SOQ

          Yes that old chestnut has reappeared with the Trump administration- quelle surprise, apparently Grindr is a security risk to service men as it is owned by a Chinese company.

          Matthew was on the scene by the looks of it. Those sorts, meaning single and even semi out were rarely a security risk because there was little leverage.

          The closets on the other hand, meaning those who lived heterosexual lifestyles- wife, kids etc were the real risk so banning out gays only left a bad situation worse.

          1. Pip

            A very sound analysis, SOQ.
            I recall being asked ‘Do you know Dorothy?’ in the Theatre Festival office yonks ago.
            Me: ‘Do you mean Dorothy Smith, the artist? Red haired woman.’
            He: ‘No, but I see what you mean’.

  5. johnny green

    -may be a bit ‘yank’ but watched this other night it just came out,highly recommend it was really amazing.

    “With the U.S. gripped in the panic of the Cold War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower deemed homosexuals to be “security risks” and vowed to rid the government of all employees discovered to be gay or lesbian.
    Over the next four decades, the longest witch-hunt in American history, tens of thousands of workers would lose their jobs or be denied employment for their sexual orientation. The Lavender Scare is the first documentary to tell the story of this little-known aspect of American history.”

    https://www.pbs.org/show/lavender-scare/

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