News & Media

Women of Honour need urgent attention from Minister

11 September 2021

Statement by Senator Mark Wall
Spokesperson on Defence, Tourism and Sport

Following the airing of an RTÉ documentary on Ireland’s military ‘me too’ movement, Labour defence spokesperson Mark Wall has called for an urgent review into the culture and processes in our defence forces. Senator Wall said the Minister needs to appoint an independent investigator to get justice for these women and identify the changes in culture and management that are required.

Senator Wall said:

"I, and I'm sure the whole country, am deeply disturbed by the content of RTÉ's 'Women of Honour' documentary. The situations described are horrific. No woman should ever have to experience what was described in the show. The Minister needs to immediately appoint at independent person to investigate the culture and practices as they relate to misogyny, harassment and bullying within the Forces. There must be a root and branch review of what is going on. 

“It’s deeply troubling to hear women say that when they do not feel that they do not have the power or the support to report incidences of harassment, and even some who do report it are given inadequate support to work through it or their reports are not followed through. There needs to be a higher standard within the forces. Victims of harassment should feel safe and empowered to report. Otherwise perpetrators trade off that silence. There must be consequences for the actions of perpetrators and support for any victim of harassment or assault.

“The Commission on the Defence Forces, which is due to finish its work in the coming months, has already highlighted culture and management as among the main problems and areas requiring address. However, it's clear that this work cannot be delayed. The Minister must turn his immiedate attention to the treatment of women within the Forces. Hearing women speak about sexual harassment, about complaints of same not being investigated, about the casual gendered comments made without any punishment, it is truly shocking and requires an independent review into culture and practices within the forces.

"RTÉ and Katie Hannon must be commended for ensuring that the public hear the voices of these women. It reiterates the crucial importance and value of journalism within society. However, there remains more questions than answers. 

“I fully support the women’s call for an acknowledgement and an apology. The Minister must urgently appoint an independent investigator to review all of the allegations made and identify how to redress the situation for the women affected. It’s clear that culture within the forces needs an overhaul.”