Army abuse and bullying inquiry’s terms of reference to go to Cabinet in September, Tánaiste says

Martin pledges more discussion and engagement with Women of Honour group ahead of autumn investigation into claims

The terms of reference for an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse and bullying in the Defence Forces will be brought to Cabinet in September, Tánaiste Micheal Martin has said.

Mr Martin said there would be further discussion and engagement with the Women of Honour group ahead of that.

Allegations of sexual abuse, harassment, discrimination and bullying in the Defence Forces made by the group first came to light in an RTÉ documentary in 2021.

When asked on Monday whether he had given a commitment to the Women of Honour group that he would not bring the terms of reference to Cabinet without their approval, Mr Martin said: “No, what we said was we’ll have further discussions on the terms of reference.


“Those discussions are under way. But we will be bringing this to Government obviously in the autumn, in September.”

Mr Martin, who is also the Minister for Defence, said the terms of reference had not yet been agreed and that “we will have to make a decision at some stage in relation to that”.

The Fianna Fáil leader was speaking at the Curragh, where he was reviewing the impact of the allocation of €55 million towards improving Defence Forces infrastructure.

Separately, the Tánaiste said reports of extra charges being introduced to compensate for lost revenue from fossil fuel to electric cars “won’t be happening”.

“First of all, that is a study. There are no proposals that have come before Government,” he said.

“I’m not anti-car, I’m anti-fossil fuels. There are two things we need to do. We need to continue to significantly increase the take-up of EVs [electric vehicles] and then we need to develop, as we are, the public transport network, in terms of trains, buses. There’s a lot of investment going into that and also active travel.

“The whole agenda of bringing people to a more energy-efficient, climate-adaptive society is to bring people with us and not to be unnecessarily scaremongering or alarming people.

“In my view, the most important aspect of that is the public transport network. At the moment, it’s not where it should be to enable people to ditch the car, particularly if you’re living in rural Ireland or outside of the major cities.”

Mr Martin added that lost revenue from fossil-fuel cars didn’t have to be made up within the transport area.

“There are always other alternatives. The idea that you would in a narrow way just look at reducing the revenue from fossil fuels that you have to increase it within the transport area, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case,” he said.

“My view is not one where you penalise people, you bring people with you. People have to get from Maynooth to Dublin still.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times