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Simon Coveney To Meet With The Women From Defence Forces Documentary

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06:50 18 Sep 2021


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The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence will meet with a group of women who've alleged they were sexually assaulted and discriminated against while serving in the Defence Forces.

The women gave the accounts of the alleged abuse in a RTÉ radio documentary, which aired last weekend.

Minister Simon Coveney says the women have since agreed to a meeting and he has instructed his officials to make the necessary arrangements.

The scope of an upcoming review into bullying, harassment and sexual assault in the military, is being examined in the wake of the 'Women of Honour' programme, according Minister Coveney.

Independent Review

Minister Coveney has promised the review will be done by "independent and unbiased personnel".

Journalist Tom Clonan, who first exposed sexual abuse in the Defence Forces as a whistleblower two decades ago, says the review must be truly independent:

"Bullying, harassment, sexual assault and rape of female soldiers sailors and air crew was widespread throughout the organisations and these problems I demonstrated were systemic.

"In 21 years I have never been approached by anybody from the Department of Defence and during the worst period not by anybody in the Defence Forces.

"So if they are going to carry out a review 21 years later they cannot investigate themselves."

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