Soldier F made protected disclosures about bullying and victimisation in the Defence Forces that led to a Government-initiated inquiry. So why is he stuck doing a barely menial task in an office?
In the air corps’ Baldonnel air base, there is a little-used office filled with filing cabinets.
Every day Soldier F, who cannot be named or quoted because he is a serving soldier, comes into the office, takes his jacket off, sits down, and waits for the phone to ring.
However, not only does the phone never ring, but, according to a close friend of his, even if it did, nobody would hear his voice because the phone doesn’t work properly.
He knows this because the few times the phone has rung, he has picked it up and the person at the end of the line keeps asking if anybody is there.
It’s hard to fathom that the Defence Forces would pay an experienced soldier, once tasked with commanding men in Lebanon, to answer a phone that never rings. According to his friend, he believes it is because he has stood up for himself and others who were bullied and victimised in the Defence Forces.
He has lodged a number of protected disclosures about mistreatment, assaults, and victimisation.
It was Soldier F’s evidence that led to a Government-initiated inquiry into the Defence Forces Cadet School.
This inquiry predated the Women of Honour expose by just over a year and was one of a raft of reports pointing to a culture of overt misogyny among Defence Forces officers.
His evidence led Government-appointed barrister Frances Meenan, who headed that inquiry, to remark that Defence Forces policies in relation to employment equality, and bullying at work need “major reconsideration and redrafting”.
This was, said Meenan, because “they are not fit for purpose in the modern era of employment”.
The last engagement Soldier F had with any State-initiated investigation into irregularities in the Defence Forces was the recent Independent Review Group panel probe that was set up after RTÉ’s Women of Honour programme.
While panel members were shocked at much of what Soldier F had to say to them behind closed doors, he is, according to his friend, another one of the many who gave evidence who now feel cold-shouldered by the State.
Read full article by Neil Michael on Irish Examiner website…
This article shows the type of mistreatment that personnel who highlight wrongdoing in the Irish Air Corps are are subjected to. Time after time they are marked out for humiliation & bullying until they leave the service.
The Air Corps can act with impunity in cases like this because, firstly, unlike civilian workplaces, they are exempt from constructive dismissal legislation and secondly, because a succession of Ministers for Defence, including Micheál Martin, Simon Coveney, Leo Varadkar & Paul Kehoe have shown that they have been more than happy to look the other way & allow such bullying behaviour to continue unchecked.