Concerns have been raised by numerous former members of the Defence Forces in relation to the manner in which allegations of sexual abuse and assault have been handled. It is claimed that there exists a culture of ignoring sexual assault. This claim is disputed by the Irish Defence Forces.
Mr. Anthony O’ Brien a former sergeant who served in the Irish Defence Forces for over 20 years has alleged he was sexually assaulted in the 1980s by a Defence Forces Officer. Mr. O’ Brien shared details of the alleged assault online and subsequently has been contacted by both men and women who claim to have been assaulted or harassed during their time in the Defence Forces. Mr. O’Brien is aware of numerous cases where it is alleged that members of the Defence Forces have abused their rank for a sexual favour.
Allegations of sexual abuse have also been made by Mr. James Daly, who has been a member of the Irish Defence Forces for over 30 years. Mr. Daly claims the sexual abuse took place in the 1980s when he was between 17 and 18. He claims he was abused by two men, both of superior rank.
In 2005 Mr. Daly made a statement to the Gardai regarding the alleged abuse. Following his statement, Gardai interviewed the alleged abusers but the Director of Public Prosecutions opted not to prosecute due to a lack of evidence. Mr. Daly has since endeavoured to access the files relating to his case, but the Defence Forces have said certain files are missing.
The Department of Defence has issued a statement, in relation to the allegations of abuse, in which Minster Coveney urged “anyone with information of alleged criminality to present that information to An Garda Síochána”