Coveney to meet women at centre of Defence Forces abuse allegations

RTÉ programme Women of Honour detailed experiences of alleged harassment

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney: ‘I very much look forward to meeting with the women profiled in the programme and listening to their views.’ Photograph: iStock

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney: ‘I very much look forward to meeting with the women profiled in the programme and listening to their views.’ Photograph: iStock

 

A group of women who featured in a recent RTÉ radio documentary outlining three decades of alleged sexual harassment, attempted sexual assault and bullying with the Defence Forces have agreed to meet Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney to discuss the allegations.

The Minister extended the invitation following the broadcast of the Women of Honour documentary on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday, September 11th.

In the programme, retired women sailors, soldiers and aircrew disclosed allegations of systemic discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“I listened with concern to the women who recounted their experiences on the Women of Honour programme,” Mr Coveney said on Sunday. “I expressed my willingness to meet with the participants, should they wish to do so, and I am pleased to say that my offer has been accepted.”

He said he had instructed officials within his department to “make the necessary arrangements without delay”.

The Minister also said that the terms on the establishment of an independent review into the matter are being revisited in light of the RTÉ programme.

“I can confirm that this will be conducted by independent, unbiased personnel. The purpose of this independent review is to examine the effectiveness of current policies and procedures for dealing with workplace issues such as dignity, bullying, harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination,” Mr Coveney said.

“I very much look forward to meeting with the women profiled in the programme and listening to their views.”

According to the Department of Defence, senior officials have met some of the people profiled in the RTÉ programme and encouraged them to bring their complaints to the gardaí.