Published on 

Statement from the Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. following meeting with the Women of Honour group

This afternoon I welcomed the opportunity to meet with four members of the Women of Honour group and their solicitor to discuss an independent review into allegations of abuse and bullying in the Defence Forces.


Since October my department has been working to initiate an independent review into allegations of abuse and bullying. A key concern for me, and objective of a review, will also be to assess systems, structures and the culture within the Defence Forces to ensure a safe workplace for all.


As Minister for Defence, I and the Department, have a duty of care to all those who serve our state, male and female, including almost 600 current female members of the permanent Defence Forces.


With this in mind my department circulated draft terms of reference to all interested parties on October 21st. We have received feedback from a number of parties which have since shaped the terms of reference.


In recent days I have spoken with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre to satisfy myself that our course of action is appropriate and thorough. My department has also heard this week confidentially from former and serving members, both male and female, who are satisfied with the department’s actions to date and who want to see an independent review without delay.


Following a good discussion with the group at today’s meeting, we both have agreed to meet again in early January to try finalise a way forward.


I would once again ask anyone with allegations or evidence of abuse to confidentially contact the Garda National Protective Services Bureau on or to call 01-6663423