Former Garda sacked in 1982 for being gay will sue the State

He was previously told by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that his “alleged involvement in homosexual activity” was the reason for his dismissal.

Two guards in high vis vests seen from behind on a city street

A former Garda who was told he was sacked from the force in 1982 for being gay is to sue the State. The case came to light after the man spoke to RTÉ’s Liveline with Joe Duffy last year and explained that he was interrogated by the police force around the time of the Charles Self murder case and then dismissed.

He shared, “In 1982, there were a series of events that happened to me after the Charles Self murder. After his murder, I was directed to go down to Dublin Castle and present myself before a Superintendent… I was told I was being investigated for conduct that would bring discredit to the force.”

He continued, “There was actually a witch hunt against gay men to try and solve that murder which they never solved. In June 1982, two days before I was due to be attested, we were on nights, and on Wednesday night of that week, a sergeant and an inspector came into the parade room… and ordered me out of the room.” The man was subsequently dismissed.

Demands were made to the Government for a State apology. Late last year, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris confirmed that the former Garda was sacked for being gay. Harris wrote to the man, “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.”

In the wake of that, Jim O’Callaghan TD said the “deeply disturbing” dismissal was a reminder what a “cold” place Ireland was in the 1980s and called on the Government to issue a state apology. He added, “The Government should now acknowledge the State’s wrongdoing and apologise to the [former] Garda on behalf of the State for what was, on any analysis, an unfair and shameful dismissal.”

Now the former Garda is to sue the State for the unfair dismissal. His action details that before the dismissal, he had never been charged with a disciplinary issue or criminal offence, that nothing negative had ever been reported against him. He was also not told at the time of the reason why he was let go.

The former Garda will seek recompense for distress and the long term impact it has had on him. He will also seek loss of earnings, including the Garda pension he would have been entitled to.

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