Today I discuss A Guarded Life- my story of the dark side of An Garda Síochána by Majella Moynihan with Aoife Kelleher.
Majella Moynihan’s story has been well documented in Ireland- the young Irish guard who became pregnant ‘out of wedlock’ and how she was treated as a result in 1980s Ireland. I tend not to buy modern biographies but my mother lent me this so I reckoned it must have be a necessary read.
This story is compelling. Moynihan’s young life alone is fascinating to read about as her father controversially decides that Majella and her sisters must be raised in a home by nuns after the death of their mother. This alone has enough material for book. However, the more infamous events that occur when she gets her dream to join the guards are eye opening and a constant reminder of how far Ireland has come, but also how far it still needs to go. Moynihan (with Kelleher) relate the tale simply and effectively, with kindness and honesty at all times. If a person was good to Moyhinan and a positive influence, this was documented. When she tells of the harsh and often repulsive behaviour she was subjected to, she uses a mainly fact based approach. It is enough to make the reader feel true despair for the victim of a deeply troubling Ireland.
This book should be read by advocates of justice and equality worldwide. It should also be read by anyone who has strong opinions on ‘whistle blowing’- it may change your mind. I hope this is a world no woman is ever subject to again. Let’s remember that 1985 is not that long ago.
I am adding a link to a transcript from a fantastic Doc on One that is worth a listen for anyone engaged by this book review.