Terms of Reference of Full Statutory Inquiry Must Be Agreed by the Women of Honour - Tóibín
Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín, who was the first to raise the campaign by the Women of Honour in the Dáil 18 months ago, has stated:
“This is a good day for the Women of Honour. The state owes these women a debt of gratitude for their courageous campaign to shine a light on the horrendous litany of abuse within the Defence Forces. But more importantly the state owes the Women of Honour a guarantee that the Terms of Reference that will underpin the promised Independent Statutory Inquiry will be developed in agreement with the Women of Honour. Any less would be a continuation of the injustices suffered”.
“The Women of Honour were women who were seeking to work in the service of the state. These women in their work put their lives on the line for us. Shockingly their service was met by assault, rape, abuse, bullying and discrimination”.
“When they went to seek justice, justice was blocked and prevented. Instead of the perpetrators of this abuse being punished, the victims of this abuse were punished”.
“There are serious questions of accountability here. Do we not have a Minister for the Defence who is tasked to ensure that men and women can work in the service of the state without physical and sexual abuse? Why was the department blind to the systemic injustices that were perpetrated against these women. These women spent that last 2 years working without pay to get justice. They were doing the work that well-paid government Ministers and senior civil servants were supposed to be doing”.
“This independent report is a significant milestone towards justice, but it is only the start of what is still a long process. The government must create a fully Independent Statutory Inquiry into all forms of the horrendous abuse that took place over the decades within the Defence Forces and into all the processes of cover up and injustice that facilitated this abuse”.
“Aontú believe that this inquiry should also include the inaction of the Department and Ministers over the decades. There must also me accountability. Perpetrators of injustice must face real sanction”.
Most importantly the Terms of Reference that will underpin this Independent Statutory Inquiry must be developed in agreement with the Women of Honour. Any less would only continue these injustices”.