Local Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence, Deputy Sorca Clarke, has backed calls for an independent inquiry into allegations of abuse in the Defence Forces.
Her comments follow an investigation broadcast by RTÉ Radio 1 Saturday, September 11, exposing serious allegations of extensive sexual violence and harassment within the Defence Forces.
“These allegations of sexual violence, harassment, abuse and discrimination within the Defence Forces are very serious and deeply concerning.
I want to commend all those who have bravely come forward to share their stories. The Defence Forces have a responsibility to act on these allegations and ensure that they are addressed urgently.
“There must be a zero tolerance approach to all forms of harassment, bullying and violence in all workplaces.
“I support survivors’ calls for an independent inquiry into these allegations. It is imperative that immediate action is taken to establish the extent of these issues and ensure that steps are taken to ensure justice for survivors.
“Minister Coveney must now waive any Non Disclosure Agreements in relation to settlements paid to members of the Defence Forces to facilitate survivors in coming forward to discuss their experiences of abuse should they choose to. No survivor should feel silenced and prevented from sharing their story due to the threat of an NDA.
“The Minister must also meet with those involved with the Women of Honour group as a priority in order to listen to their concerns and their calls for action. These survivors’ stories must be not be silenced and survivors must be afforded the respect and dignity of sharing their stories if they choose to do so,” Teachta Clarke asserted.