To Protect And Serve



A former Garda member who has campaigned for years for the force to admit he was dismissed because he was gay has now been told by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that his “alleged involvement in homosexual activity” was the issue.

“A document has been located at the Department of Justice and Equality and provided to me, and indicates that your services were dispensed with in advance of your position being confirmed due to suspicions of your alleged involvement in homosexual activity,” Mr Harris has now said in a letter to him.

Garda was sacked in 1982 over ‘alleged homosexual activity’, Harris confirms (Irish Times)

Related: 1982: I was a garda. I was gay. I lost my job (Conor Lally, Irish Times, July 20, 2019)

Previously: ‘I Was Treated Like A Pariah’

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43 thoughts on “To Protect And Serve

    1. millie st murderlark

      Not really, in fairness. One is your sexuality, which is something you have no choice. The other is porn, which is almost certainly elective.

      However, 30 odd years from now it could well be a different story, which is the point you’re making I suspect.

      1. Cian

        Appearing in porn isn’t illegal today, even if it is elective.
        Being gay wasn’t illegal, the illegal stuff was the homosexual acts, which is almost certainly elective.

        The problem then, as now, was bringing the Gardaí into disrepute.

          1. Cian

            Is it illegal to wear a Garda uniform in a porn video?

            No. But it brings the Gards into disrepute (a bit like being gay in the 80s)

            One of the articles about him said that he was asked to resign, because otherwise they would have to fire him. That he took the Garda car without permission. So he was “fired” for an alleged offence. He didn’t get due process.

          2. Listrade

            I’m not saying it is illegal. But it is a specific point that he was dismissed and the fact that he wore the uniform was a big part of that.

            Disrepute, a specific offence, isn’t mentioned. That’s the point. It is an alleged homosexual offence that is mentioned.

        1. millie st murderlark

          I can see your point. I don’t like it, but it’s a fair point. Damn you Cian!

  1. SB

    In fairness, it WAS illegal back then (right or wrong). Like the guard the other day being sacked over his conviction for cocaine possession, if drugs are decriminalised in years to come, should he have a comeback?

    1. some old quare

      Being gay was never illegal- only homosexual acts and even then- you would have needed to be prosecuted first- there was no legal basis for this man’s dismissal.

      1. Cian

        yes and no.
        Homosexual acts were illegal. But they were illegal regardless of if you were prosecuted or not.

        Employment laws have also changed hugely in the last 40 years – mostly to protect employees. I don’t know what the laws were in the 1980s but it might have been possible to fire someone for no reason- they may not have needed a legal basis for the dismissal.

        1. some old quare

          Homosexual acts were illegal. But they were illegal regardless of if you were prosecuted or not.

          Sorry but that doesn’t make sense- unless you were caught in the act then prosecuted- it was just conjecture surely?

          1. postmanpat

            Unless the commissioner at the time had photographs…”you don’t scare me, that could be anyone’s ass!”

          2. Cian

            It is illegal for me to drive at 150km/hr down the motorway.
            It is illegal while I am doing it.
            I don’t need to be caught, or prosecuted for it to be illegal. The act in itself is illegal.

          3. some old quare

            True but if I phoned up your boss and told him you were driving at 150km/hr down the motorway- that is not grounds for him or her to sack you- it is just my OPINION that you were driving at 150km/hr down the motorway- I could be lying or, I may have been mistaken.

            And, even if you were stopped by the gaurds, they would have proof that you were driving at 150km/hr down the motorway before they prosecute because otherwise, the Judge would throw the case out.

          4. Cian

            if you phoned my boss, and he then suspected that I was speeding (let’s pretend it was in a vehicle with the company name on it) and I was on probation, he might just decide to fire me not extend my probation and not give me a full time job.

            ….and that would be 100% legal.

            (and I wouldn’t blame him – I was speeding after all ;)

  2. eoin

    1982, a decade before homosexual activity was decriminalised?
    So, a Garda was sacked in 1982 for what was illegal behaviour at the time? In a way, I’m shocked the Gardai were that efficient.

    The man deserves an apology of course, because, by today’s standards, the treatment of the gays was bloody outrageous.

    I don’t know if the ex-Garda is now seeking compo though. If he is, he can fupp off to the back of the queue behind those law-abiding citizens who were treated poorly by the State in former years.

    [PS, has anyone heard from Rebecca Moynihan recently, did she and her “legal team” arm twist €500,000 of our money out of Charlie Flanagan as compo to top up her pension?]

    1. Ron

      “the treatment of the gays”

      It seems the straights were up to their usual tricks, making all them gay babies and then forcing them out of their jobs because the paedophiles in the Catholic Church who actually cross dress as part of their official pontificating uniform told them that’s God’s way.

    2. Listrade

      “I don’t know if the ex-Garda is now seeking compo though”

      Easy enough to read the articles linked and find out that he hasn’t mentioned compensation. It seems that there had been some difficulty in locating (ahem) the document where it was officially stated he was sacked for his sexuality. That’s all he wanted, confirmation that this is the reason.

      And we’re mixing up certain things. It was illegal to be involved in homosexual activity, not to be gay. You could be gay and “celibate”, that was legal. So they had no proof that he had engaged in any activity, only that he was around a few parties and the “scene”. He was sacked based upon that. Now do you see the difference?

      He wanted it confirmed that he was sacked only on the basis of being gay. Being gay wasn’t illegal. If it was so cut and dry, even given modern views, why did they hide it for 30 years? Why was it so hard to find the piece of paper?

      As you were. Back to cut and pasting for edgy opinions.

      1. Cian

        It didn’t say he was sacked for being gay.

        It says: Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that his “alleged involvement in homosexual activity” was the issue.

        1. Listrade

          Yes, which is the crime. But which amounted to knowing gay people and going to parties which isn’t a crime. He was sacked for alleged, not proven, not even proven to employment law standards.

          Pick a different horse for the contrariness

          1. Cian

            and, as I said above, what were the employment law standards in 1980?
            The current laws are Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011, was there anything before that that might have protected him?

            Also, in the linked article is says: “he was shown the door just two days before his two-year probationary period would have expired.” – so he was on probation – what were the laws around that?

          2. Listrade

            Same stuff Cian. We may have more progressive specific laws, but we still have similar standards for required proof and natural justice. Maybe not as evenly applied, but that doesn’t detract from there being no proof of homosexual activity and no reason to dismiss.

            If it was all so above board, no matter how much it goes against our modern sensibilities, why did it take so long for the official document to emerge?

          3. Cian

            “standards for required proof and natural justice” – p’ah, rubbish. The reason we have so much Employment legislation is because so many people were fired (or bullied into leaving) because of the lack of “required proof” and “natural justice”.

            “If it was all so above board, no matter how much it goes against our modern sensibilities, why did it take so long for the official document to emerge?”
            I don’t know. Inertia? Fear of what else might be revealed? It makes them look bad? They couldn’t be bothered? Fear of litigation? Fear that the media would say thing like “man fired for being gay” even though this is not true?

          4. Listrade

            Cian, ease off. Unfair dismissals act 1977, Protection of Employment Act 1977, Minimum Notice & Terms of Employment Act 1973. We may have been backwards on a few things, but we had the protection there. We had the standards based on case law. So um..yeah, no.

            That’s where we were, suspicion not enough. We know that was the written reason to justify dismissing him because he was gay.

          5. Cian

            None of those acts apply to An Garda Siochana. They are explicitly excluded.

            So um..yeah, no.

            “We know that was the written reason to justify dismissing him because he was gay.”
            No. It was “alleged involvement in homosexual activity”. Not because he was gay, because he was alleged involved in “criminal” activity. there is a subtle difference.

          6. Listrade

            And when you were looking that up, you also looked up the details of the Garda Disciplinary Regulations to assure yourself of what due process involves? I know you’re thorough, so you probably did.

            Still amounts to the same thing, suspicion isn’t enough, not without proof via an investigation, not without due process. Yes he was on probationary, that’s a different argument.

            You’re saying alleged criminal activity. I’m saying there was clearly no proof of an alleged criminal activity and so that was fabricated to justify sacking him because he was gay. See the link? It says that on the piece of paper they found after 30 years…doesn’t mean they didn’t make it up. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t entitled to due process even in the 80s.

          7. Cian

            Garda Siochana (Designations, Appointments and Discipline) Regulations, 1924 says “During the period of probation the services of any Guard may be dispensed with at any time if the Commissioner considers that he is not fitted, physically or mentally, to perform the duties of his office, or that he is not likely to become an efficient and well-conducted Guard.”

            The Commissioner doesn’t have to prove anything. He could just dispense with quite a broad remit.

            Now you turn: you say “I’m saying there was clearly no proof of an alleged criminal activity and so that was fabricated to justify sacking him because he was gay. ” have you *any* evidence for this or is it conjecture?

          8. Listrade

            This is kinda a remarkable turnaround. 2 hours ago you admitted you didn’t know what employment law was like in the 80s and also didn’t know what legiation there was before 1998.

            I’m ok with you googling stuff, skimming and forming a quick opinion out of context, but you need to be careful.

            I mean, sure the first Google hit on the regs you quote is 1923. But there has been several revisions. Since then. They just don’t show up on Google, you have to know the dates. You can find them yourself (same year my sister was born is the relevant one).

            Plus you need to take what is stated in the context of any case law or tribunal.

            You need to know the details of the Unfair Dismissals act (the one you found out about 2 hours ago) to understand what specifics a Garda exemption applies to. The fundamental history being that the army and guards had an internal disciplinary process, so the protection existed. Most unfair dismissals are about failure to have or to follow a fair process. The Regations you googled are the process.

            However, we all have a right to due process, natural justice and our good name. And that wasn’t invented in the 90s.

            Feel free to check back with more qualified opinion after another Google search.

          9. Cian

            you’re right, I didn’t know the legislation. Which you then provided, so now I know.

            But it is moot. If yer man was on probation then it doesn’t fall under unfair dismissal.

            You also need to prove evidence for your claim “I’m saying there was clearly no proof of an alleged criminal activity and so that was fabricated to justify sacking him because he was gay. ” .

      2. eoin

        Well, yeah, Rebecca Moynihan didn’t mention compo when she spoke to RTE, all she wanted was a public apology. A week later, she turned up to the meeting for the public apology from Charlie Flanagan and Drew Harris with “a legal team” and now, it seems, she’s looking for a top up to her pension which might cost the taxpayer €500,000.

        As for this latest case, the above the ex-Garda “has now been told by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that his “alleged involvement in homosexual activity” was the issue.” Being gay wasn’t in itself the problem, it was the homosexual activity. If he was suspected of stealing, say, lost property in the Gardai’s custody, presumably he could have been fired for that, even if he hadn’t been convicted.

        I may be wrong, but this case gives me the feeling there’s a compo claim at the end of it. Getting explanations, apologies, admissions of fault, liability, these are just the early stages of the compo process, and at this stage, it’s handy to have public backing. Just ask Rebecca Moynihan! [And Rebecca Moynihan was also treated outrageously, but not as far as I can tell, illegally and certainly it’s not worth €500,000, plus whatever the “legal team” is charging]

        1. Listrade

          Cool, cool, cool, cool. You do you.

          Oh, just thinking. Did she ever sue for compensation? Just I’d have thought it was covered under the statute of limitations and so without some really exceptional circumstances, she wouldn’t have had a case.

          Maybe the money was offered, by way of apology.

          Maybe she turned up with lawyers because she’s going into a meeting and she should have representation to make sure it’s as stated. Maybe the department had its own legal team there as well.

          Maybe there’s a hell of a lot we don’t know, but it’s always worthwhile expressing baseless supposition anyway.

          1. postmanpat

            Wwhere does this end? Maybe I should make my primary school apologize to me for stress caused making me witness violence against my class mates by and old christian brother Jack from St Marys BNS in the eighties? and show up with my own legal team when they make the apology/admission of guilt and try to get as much money as I can because I can? even though there might be nothing really wrong with me?

          2. eoin

            Listrade/Postman Pat, at this stage of proceedings, the complainant hasn’t a legal leg to stand on to get compo because the Statute of Limitations will say that his window for taking legal action has long since closed. So, what do you do, you take to the airwaves [there’s always a useful idiot at RTE who’ll be grateful for the call] and try to coax public sympathy and that’s fair enough, the treatment was outrageous by 2019 standards, but then, having built up a critical mass of public sympathy, you then need to MONETIZE it, and there’s always a politician in charge of the public purse who’ll only be too delighted to satisfy public sympathy in return for support at the polls. These ex-gratia awards are our money and meanwhile survivors of industrial schools who were raped and beaten are dying in penury.

  3. GiggidyGoo

    So the ‘document’. Now that we know it exists, will Drew Harris give this man a copy so that he can see the actual text of it,?

  4. Catherine costelloe

    He was a probationary garda , less than 2 years service. It was well known you could be dismissed after 2 years & not entitled to a reason either at that time. Bone idle? Gone. Arrogant and complaints from public? Gone. Behaviour off duty, like going to a pub that criminals frequent? Gone. Suspected of anti social behaviour? Gone.
    He was unlucky he was a probationer otherwise he had a better chance of fighting his case then.

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