Officer accused of sexual assault attempted to apologise with One4All vouchers

Investigators hear claims soldier offered vouchers to complainants after a party at McKee Barracks

An Army officer who allegedly sexually assaulted a female subordinate attempted to apologise the next day with One4all vouchers, military investigators have been told.

The apology was rejected by the complainants and a Military Police inquiry was later launched. The officer is now facing a Court Martial in relation to the matter which occurred following a party at McKee Barracks in June 2020.

It is not clear if the officer will face charges for assaulting two soldiers or one. Two female Defence Forces members were present when the alleged assault took place and he is accused of acting inappropriately with both of them.

The incident, which was first reported two weeks ago, occurred on June 25th, 2020. An outdoor barbeque for members of the Defence Force’s Joint Covid Taskforce took place on the base. At the time strict limitations were in place, limiting outdoor gatherings to 15 people.

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The officer became drunk during the afternoon and evening and fell asleep on the base. Two female soldiers then attempted to bring him to bed.

They woke him up at which point he allegedly groped one of the women’s breasts while making an inappropriate remark.

Military sources say the next day the officer tracked the women down and apologised by offering them a voucher each. The offer was firmly rejected, sources said.

No findings of guilt have been made against the officer. The matter is under investigation by the Military Police ahead of a potential court martial.

If convicted under military law, he could face imprisonment in the military jail in the Curragh Camp, dishonourable discharge or a range of more minor penalties, such as demotion.

Earlier in the evening about 40 Defence Forces personnel, including officers, were in attendance at the event and consuming alcohol.

The event, which was intended as a morale booster, was held in the green area beside the gym where the taskforce, known as Operation Fortitude, was based. An email was sent around McKee Barracks inviting other military personnel to attend.

A separate Military Police investigation into the gathering took place. It found there was no breach of Covid regulation protocols but the Defence Forces’ alcohol rules were breached. Three officer were reprimanded as a result.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has now ordered a review of both the event and the subsequent Military Police investigation. The review is being conducted by senior counsel Hugh Mohan.

Separately, another Military Police investigation is ongoing into allegations a senior officer crashed his car in Cathal Brugha Barracks in the early hours of Saturday morning after returning from a night's socialising.

The officer was detained by Military Police before being released the next day. He was paraded before his commanding officer on Monday to answer the allegations.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times