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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar encourages victims of sexual harassment to come forward

Varadkar also said that “due process” is important.

Varadkar was speaking during a trade mission to the US.
Varadkar was speaking during a trade mission to the US.
Image: Artur Widak/PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has encouraged people who have been sexually harassed to come forward and also acknowledged that it “requires a degree of bravery” to do so.

Varadkar was speaking following the announcement by The Gate Theatre that it is to appoint “an independent professional HR advisor” to handle concerns that may arise from employees and contractors during a confidential process, also announced yesterday.

The move comes following issues raised by a number of women online and in national newspapers in the past week.

Responding to the new method of reporting concerns to The Gate Theatre, Varadkar told RTÉ News that it was “right and appropriate” for people to engage with such processes.

“Certainly if they have established somebody you can go to, a HR person you can go to in those circumstances I think it would be right and appropriate for people who have been sexually harassed to come forward,” he said.

That requires a degree of bravery of course, but it also empowers other people to do the same, maybe people who were afraid to do so in the past. When they see others coming forward then they’ll be encouraged to do so as well.

Varadkar also noted that “due process” should be followed if allegations are made.

“We also do need to counterbalance that with the understanding that an allegation is an allegation and people have a right to due process and have their good name protected,” he said.

The Gate said that “any experience shared will be treated in the utmost confidence” and added that it wanted to “foster a safe and supportive working environment” in the theatre.

Read: Gate Theatre issues statement in wake of claims of abuse of power and harassment >

Read: Studio cuts ties with director after Olivia Munn and others accuse him of sexual misconduct >

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Rónán Duffy

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