Both my Department and I have engaged extensively in recent months with all key stakeholders on the Terms of Reference for the Independent Review, established to examine issues relating to sexual misconduct, bullying, harassment and discrimination in the Defence Forces.
The Terms of Reference, approved by Cabinet on 25 January 2022, were published on 1 February 2022, on Gov.ie
The overall aims of the Independent Review are to: -
- Advise on whether the current legislative frameworks, policies, procedures and practices for addressing incidents of unacceptable behaviour in the workplace are effective.
- Independently assess whether the pervading culture in the workplace is fully aligned with the principles of dignity, equality, mutual respect, and duty of care for every member of the Defence Forces.
- Provide recommendations and guidance on measures and strategies required to underpin a workplace based on dignity, equality, mutual respect, and duty of care for every member of the Defence Forces.
This Independent Review is seen as a critical and vital next step to ensure that the workplace for serving members of the Defence Forces is safe, where there is zero tolerance of unacceptable behaviour and where we learn from historical experiences.
In addition, the Review Group have been specifically asked to advise on whether further work is required to examine issues of an historical nature and to make any recommendations regarding how this might be pursued.
The Review Group will provide me with an interim report after six months. A final report is expected within 12 months. I will bring the Final Review Report to Government, who may consider any further bodies of work that might be necessary, taking into account the findings of the Independent Review Group. Thereafter, I intend to make the Final Review Report public
I wish to reiterate my commitment and that of the Secretary General and Chief of Staff, to ensure that every member of the Defence Forces, can carry out their duties in a safe and respectful workplace based on dignity, equality and zero-tolerance for any kind of unacceptable behaviour.