There have been calls for the apologies by the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice to the former garda Majella Moynihan to be followed by action.

Dr Mary McAuliffe, a lecturer in Gender Studies at UCD, said their words must be backed up by behavioural and cultural change.

She said issues like the CervicalCheck controversy shows that the State continues to commit sins against women and women’s bodies and that the apologies needed to be heartfelt and not functional.

She added the apologies were welcome but overdue.

Separately, the Garda Representative Association issued a statement this afternoon which expressed "its highest admiration for the dignity and bravery of Ms Moynihan".

The former member of the force was subject to an investigation and threatened with dismissal after she became pregnant by another garda in 1984. Ms Moynihan was 22 years old at the time.

The GRA acknowledged a "litany of shocking and disgraceful behaviours on the part of the Garda Síochána" in relation to Ms Moynihan’s ordeal as a pregnant single woman.

The association said Ms Moynihan’s experience was a product of a time in which people in a position of power were influenced by social values which had profound disregard for women.

It also added it was seeking a full recording of the interview broadcast this morning in which a former General Secretary Jack Marrinan spoke to an RTÉ programme in 1985.

The association said the GRA of today distances itself from any implication that Ms Moynihan had done anything wrong and would robustly defend any attempt to victimise a woman on the grounds that led to the disciplinary hearing against her.

It also noted the child's father was subject to a disciplinary hearing in which Ms Moynihan was called as a witness, which it said was "another disgraceful aspect of this shocking episode".

Meanwhile, Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance said Ms Moynihan's story shows that an investigation into adoptions that took place outside mother-and-baby homes needs to be carried out.

She said an independent investigator, possibly connected to the UN, needed to look at adoptions that had taken place in circumstances similar to Ms Moynihan's.

Ms Lohan added there were likely to be thousands of cases and that they were not covered by the current inquiry into mother-and-baby homes.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan said Ms Moynihan should be entitled to a full pension, backdated to when she left the force, as she was "effectively constructively dismissed in 1988".

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said the Government should do that without her having to initiate legal proceedings or having to threaten legal proceedings.

Mr O'Callaghan also said he would like to know how many male members of An Garda Síochána were ever charged with the offence of fathering a child outside of marriage.

He said: "That's not just an application to An Garda Síochána, it is the case of what happened in Ireland in the past, where men who fathered children outside of wedlock sailed off into the sunset and women were left with all the responsibility and all the consequential shame that was placed upon them inappropriately by this society."