Can Government be sure culture of institutional abuse is not permeating other organisations?

Ivana Bacik TD
29 March 2023
  • Statutory inquiry into Defence Force culture must be up and running before Oireachtas recess

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called on Government to outline the protections in place across State institutions to prevent institutional abuse, such as that exposed by the Women of Honour in the Defence Forces.

During Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Bacik said the failure of the Forces to protect people at work is utterly horrifying.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Everyone has a right to go to work and carry out their duties, free from harassment, and free from violence. But in the shocking findings of the Independent Review Group report carried out into culture in the Defence Forces, we read today that women members of the Defence Forces were advised to keep two locks on their bedroom doors to ward off those seeking to assault them in their sleeping quarters.

“The report presents a picture of a deeply toxic culture within our Defence Forces. On almost each of the 50 pages in the report, we see evidence of the abuse of members of our defence forces in army barracks, on naval boats, on overseas tours, and elsewhere.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to hold a statutory inquiry into the horrendous abuse perpetrated against members of the Defence Forces. We want to see the inquiry in place before the Oireachtas rises for summer recess and we want to ensure that the Women of Honour group are engaged in the process. There can be no further delay in seeking justice for victims of institutional abuse.

“I want to pay tribute to the Women of Honour group, and to Katie Hannon for her work in helping to keep the issue on the agenda. There can be no further delay in improving the conditions in the Force and changing the culture.

“Finally, we need to take steps to ensure that a similar culture does not prevail in any other state institution, like the Gardai or indeed in the civil service or political life.”

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