Simon Coveney Must Meet with the Representatives of Women of Honour – Tóibín
I have huge respect for the bravery of these women. These women are in the service of the state. Often putting their lives at risk for us. Yet, decades of service have been met with sexual abuse, bullying and discrimination. And the state stands idly by. Worse than this there seems to be a systemic resistance to achieving justice for these women.
In 2017 a Protected Disclosure that detailed bullying, sexually abuse, victimization and discrimination was sent to the Fine Gael Minister for Defence. I understand that there has been no action taken.
I understand that the Ombudsman of the Defence Forces and the Workplace Relations Commission have come to opposite decisions on the discrimination faced by another woman in the Defence Forces.
I am not aware of any independent or external investigation of sexual abuse, harassment and/or discrimination within the Defence Forces that has been carried out by the Minister Simon Coveney to date.
Shockingly Minister Simon Coveney has never met with representatives of Women of Honour, the representatives of those who have suffered sexual abuse, harassment and/or discrimination within the Defence Forces. This is incredible. The Minister has a responsibility to meet with these women immediately to fully learn of the personal experiences and he scale of this crisis.
I have submitted a serious of detailed Parliamentary Questions to the Minister calling on him to engage with these women now. I am calling on the Minister to provide an amnesty to all those who have suffered sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination in the Defence Forces in order for them to tell their stories anonymously so that we can truly understand the scale of this crisis. There must now be an independent and external investigation of sexual abuse, harassment and/or discrimination within the Defence Forces