An Garda Síochána; Garda cars for Pride this weekend
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.
“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”.
“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.”
“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