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Women from the Irish Defence Forces at McKee Barracks in Dublin. Alamy Stock Photo
women of honour

Micheál Martin to receive Women of Honour report today

A independent group has been reviewing allegations of bullying and harassment in the defence forces over the last year.

MICHEÁL MARTIN IS to receive the report from the Independent Review Group into allegations of bullying and harassment in the defence forces by the end of the day. 

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Minister of Defence said the judge chairing the review group has asked to present the report to him later this afternoon. 

The Women of Honour group said earlier this week that they have received no updates throughout the process and continue to await the report. 

It is understood the report, which is expected to be quite damaging, will not be published until the Attorney General’s office has reviewed it.

The Women of Honour group are a number of female Defence Forces members who acted as whistleblowers in regard to their own treatment of bullying and sexual harassment in their military lives. 

Their claims were detailed in a high-profile radio documentary in late 2021. 

Despite criticisms that it is over a year since the review group commenced its work, Martin said the delay has not been on his side. 

He said he is fully committed to ensuring that every member of the Defence Forces has the right to undertake their duties in a safe environment, underpinned by dignity and equality and by a culture of zero tolerance for any kind of bullying, discrimination, harassment or sexual abuse.

‘Incredible courage’

 

“That is an absolute priority,” he said. He commended the men and women that have spoken out, stating that it he has been “very taken by the incredible courage they displayed in sharing their experiences of unacceptable behaviour in the Defence Forces”.

“From extensive engagements with serving and former members of the Defence Forces, it has also been very clear that there is a very critical and immediate need to address the prevailing work culture, including issues relating to the current systems, policies and procedures for dealing with such behaviour in the Defence Forces,” he told the Dáil today.

He said the judge-led independent review group established last year has been examining systems, policies and procedures for dealing with issues relating to bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the Defence Forces, as well as the prevailing workplace culture.

“The primary objective of all concerned at the outset, therefore, has been to acknowledge issues in the current workplace and to establish a course of action that would address that,” he said. 

Martin added that it is “imperative that the current workplace culture is fully aligned with the principles of dignity, equality, mutual respect, and duty of care for every member of the Defence Forces”.

“I am fully confident that this report will help us do that while also advising on historical matters,” he said.

Following the report being reviewed by the Attorney General, Martin will bring the report to the Government for its consideration and subsequent publication. 

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