Deputy Ó Snodaigh raises concerns around defence forces procedures for dealing with bullying
Speaking this week during Dáil questions to Minster of State Paul Keogh, TD, Sinn Féin Defence spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked why complaints emanating from defence force personnel concerning bullying and sexual harassment were not dealt with more quickly.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh also raised with the Minister comments made recently by the General Secretary of PDFORRA ,Gerry Rooney, who suggested that many victims of bullying and abuse were reluctant to come forward because they feared their complaints would not be taken seriously.
“Between 2014 and September of this year,” Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “seven complaints of bullying were made by members’ of the defence forces and an additional three complaints of sexual harassment were recorded by the military police.
“When questioned, Minister Keogh was able to confirm that the majority of complaints had been resolved, which I of course welcome, but he was less forthcoming when responding to fears that the actual number of people who may have suffered bullying or other forms of harassment is likely to be much higher.
“It is also clear that the length of time taken to investigate complaints, which can take up to two years to resolve, is unacceptably long.
“When the General Secretary of PDFORRA is saying complainants often feel their disclosures will be suppressed then it is incumbent on the Minster to exam the current procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose.
“The Minister’s refusal to review the current protocols is disappointing and does a disservice to our defence forces personnel who should have confidence that when reporting bullying or any other form of harassment their complaint will be expedited quickly and fairly”.