Former army soldier TD says his experiences of the Defence Forces ‘not even remotely’ on scale of damning report
A former army soldier TD who spent over two decades in the Defence Forces has said his experience of the army was “not even remotely” on the scale of a damning report into the organisation.
An independent review into the Defence Forces found the organisation “barely tolerates women” and did not have a safe working environment.
The review was carried out after allegations of sexual abuse, bullying and harassment spanning decades.
Independent TD Cathal Berry said a role in the Defence Forces is an “excellent job” and he couldn’t “recommend it enough”.
He said the statutory inquiry would establish the facts and that it should take place as soon as possible.
He told Kildare radio station KFM that he has worked in many jobs but was always treated “the best” in the Defence Forces.
“The place where I was treated the best unquestionably was the Defence Forces. Having worked there, from time to time, you do get - what is common there is sometimes - internal grievances, that somebody didn’t get a course or somebody didn't get a promotion,” he said.
“Routine workplace stuff? Absolutely. But certainly not even remotely on the scale that came out in the report yesterday. So it was a very, very shocking read.”
He said he hopes the statutory inquiry, which has been promised by the Government, would talk to people who have had very good experiences in the defence forces as it is an “excellent job” for both men and women.
“I couldn’t recommend it enough,” he said.
He said his phone has been “hopping” for the past 48 hours by former members of the forces since the publication of the report. “The overall sentiment from the dozens of calls that I got was that this is not the organisation that they remember and this is not the organisation that they recognise.
“In fairness to the report’s authors, they did say these allegations, they’re not findings of fact, so we need to move to the next step would be a statutory inquiry to establish facts and make recommendations accordingly.”
He said he “absolutely” supports the Women of Honour and said there is an “opportunity” to improve conditions within the forces.