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Gay police officer fired after humiliating interrogation about his sexuality launches landmark lawsuit

Patrick Kelleher March 4, 2020
Garda gay man fired

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

An Irish man who was fired from the country’s police force in 1982 because he is gay is suing the state for damages and for the distress the decision caused him.

The man, who has been named as “Liam” by The Irish Times, served in An Garda Síochána and was suspended due to suspicions of his “alleged involvement in homosexual activity”.

Liam made his story public last year in an interview with the Irish newspaper. Garda commissioner Drew Harris subsequently made papers available to him which confirmed that he had been dismissed because of his sexual orientation.

Gay man who was fired from Ireland’s police force because of his sexuality is suing the state for damages.

Liam is now suing the state on a number of grounds, including how he was treated by the organisation, the distress the decision caused him and the impact it had on his life.

He is also suing for lost earnings, including a Garda pension, which he lost out on when he was sacked at the end of his probationary period in 1982.

The Garda commissioner, the department of justice and the attorney general’s office are named in his legal papers.

Liam said he was never charged with a crime and no disciplinary issues were raised at the time of his dismissal. In fact, performance reviews from his time in the service suggest that he was an “excellent” officer.

They were asking did I go to bars, did I go to clubs, was I gay, which I admitted; it was a fact. They were asking had I boyfriends. That went on for three quarters of an hour.

He claimed he was not given a reason for his dismissal in 1982, and started seeking answers in 1987. He did not receive any information from the organisation on his dismissal until he went public with his sacking last year.

The man has said he was fired suddenly and unexpectedly in 1982. He claimed he was asked to leave a Garda briefing at a station in Dublin that year. He was then ordered to hand in his uniform and go home.

The station later sent officers to his home to collect a second uniform and other belongings from the force.

Liam is claiming that his 1982 sacking breached his human rights. The defendants will now decide whether to settle the case or go to court.

Liam said he was ‘interrogated’ by police officers about his sexuality in 1982.

Speaking to The Irish Times last year about the ordeal, Liam said: “At the back of my mind, being the age I was at, I knew there wasn’t a hope of getting anywhere against these people.”

He said at the time that he was “interrogated” by officers over his sexuality in 1982.

“They were asking did I go to bars, did I go to clubs, was I gay, which I admitted; it was a fact. They were asking had I boyfriends. That went on for three quarters of an hour.”

Liam’s sacking took place when homosexuality was still illegal in the Republic of Ireland. It was eventually decriminalised in 1993.


More: an garda siochana, Gay, Ireland, LGBT, police, Queer

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