Garda Commissioner confirms that gay Garda was dismissed over 'alleged homosexual activity'

The former Garda was dismissed in 1982 after he was questioned about his connection to Charles Self.

Garda Commissioner confirms that gay Garda was dismissed over 'alleged homosexual activity'
Image: Hazel Coonagh

A gay Garda who was dismissed from the force in 1982 who has campaigned for an apology and explanation surrounding the decision has received a response from current Garda Commissioner Drew Harris which states that his “alleged involvement in homosexual activity” was the reason for his dismissal.

“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 termination due to suspicions of your alleged involvement in homosexual activity,” Mr Harris has now said in a letter to him.

The Irish Times reports that the former Garda has “welcomed” the letter, seeing it as justification, and has now requested a meeting with Commissioner Harris.

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The Commissioner has told him additional searches for more documents are being conducted and has offered him a meeting with the head of human resources as an interim measure.

The man reported that the Garda interrogated him about his connection to Charles Self before he was dismissed. Charles Self, a well-known figure in the gay community of the time, was attacked and murdered at his home in Monkstown, Dublin in January 1982.

The former gay Garda, who remained anonymous, but used the alias Matthew, spoke to ‘RTE Liveline with Joe Duffy’ about his current request and recalled the meeting with the Garda in 1982.

“In 1982, there were a series of events that happened to me after the Charles Self murder,” recalls Matthew. “After his murder, I was directed to go down to Dublin Castle and present myself before a Superintendent. I had and I hadn’t gotten an idea of what it was about because while I was in the force, I wasn’t openly gay, I wasn’t on the scene, I didn’t go to the pubs, I didn’t do anything like that.”

The gay Garda then explained he was interviewed in Pearse St Garda Station where he was photographed out of uniform and finger-printed again, which he says was very intimidating.

The day after, Gardaí came to his home to remove any remaining items of Garda property including his second uniform, a grey coat, a baton, his notebook and torch.

Matthew noted that after his dismissal, he experienced a ‘downward spiral.’ 5 years after his termination, Garda still refused to reverse the decision.

Later, In the early 2000s, he first sought a copy of his personnel file but said the force wouldn’t release it to him.

“They did invite me to view it under the supervision of a sergeant in the Phoenix Park in Dublin and I said no. It was my file. They were my details, there was information on me. I wanted it. But no way, they would not release it. This thing eats me up, nearly on a daily basis.

“I eventually got the redacted file in August 2014 and I still wasn’t happy. It was still coming into my head. It was there the whole time. So I wrote again looking for a meeting with Garda Commissioner and again, that was last year, I was stonewalled.

“GSOC said they couldn’t do anything for me. I was stonewalled with Garda headquarters. So I then copied all the documents to the Minister for Justice. Mr Flanagan, and I’ve been stonewalled there as well.

“The only people I’ve ever discussed this with is my GP, my psychiatrist, and my former colleagues. The one thing I need closure on is why?”

While he never went to any gay bars, Matthew said he used to go to the Hirshfeld centre, an LGBT+ resource centre on Fownes street.

He said his name must have been given to Gardaí from someone he knew, but added the only thing that made sense was that the Hirshfeld centre was being observed by Gardaí. At the same time, he admitted he didn’t know anyone who did monitor the area: “It was all cloak and dagger.”

He added, “I’m quite sure I’m not the only ex-member who was treated in a similar fashion.”

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