Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney, has met with participants from the Women of Honour group and with a group of serving female members of the Defence Forces.
Speaking after the meetings, Minister Coveney said it is clear that the pervading culture in the Defence Forces and the application of the current policies, systems and procedures in place for dealing with bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault have not and are not serving all Defence Forces personnel well.
Minister Coveney said he would like to say sorry to anyone who has suffered during their time in the Defence Forces and assure them the State will now urgently carry out an Independent Review.’ The Minister confirmed that the terms of the Review, which are in the process of being finalised, are being reviewed in light of recent meetings with both the Women of Honour group and serving female personnel. Other stakeholder meetings, including with the Representative Associations will also inform the terms.
The Minister has confirmed that he will immediately look to establish interim solutions for supports for Defence Forces members past or present, who are affected by these issues. The Minister said he was fully committed, together with the Secretary General of my Department, and the Chief of Staff Designate, to ensuring that each and every single member of the Defence Forces has the right to be treated with respect, equality and dignity and to carry out their duties in a safe workplace, underpinned by a culture of zero-tolerance for any kind of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.’