Taoiseach Questioned By Aontú Leader On Sexual Abuse Within Defence Forces
During Order of Business in the Dáil today the Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD raised with the Taoiseach the lack of State-action when it comes to the issue of historical sexual abuse of women within the Defence Forces. Deputy Tóibín made reference to the recently aired RTE radio documentary 'Women of Honour' which was broadcast at the weekend.
Speaking on the matter, Deputy Tóibín said:
“This weekend RTE broadcast the testimony of a number of extremely brave women, who, in the service of our Armed Forces suffered decades of sexual abuse, bullying and discrimination. These women have sought justice from within the Defence Forces. But have met, they have said, with systemic resistance every step of the way”.
“In 2017 a Protected Disclosure that detailed bullying, sexual abuse, victimization and discrimination was sent to the Fine Gael Minister for Defence. I understand that there has been no action taken. Shockingly Minister Simon Coveney has never met with representatives of Women of Honour, this is incredible. Will you meet these women? Will you Taoiseach 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. Will you commission an independent and external investigation of sexual abuse, harassment and/or discrimination within the Defence Forces”.
Later An Teachta Tóibín stated;
“I have met 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 still is the fact that there seems to be a systemic resistance to achieving justice for these women. 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. This crisis cannot be allowed continue we need concrete reform to ensure that it never happens again”.