Tánaiste Micheál Martin urged Defence Forces to make immediate move to ensure any allegations of sexual assault in the military were referred to gardaí

Tánaiste Micheál Martin told the Defence Forces chief of staff he wanted all serious complaints of a sexual nature to be immediately referred to the gardaí and no longer dealt with by military police.

In a letter in April, Mr Martin said it was his “strong preference” that all allegations of sexual assault should be investigated externally without delay.

The move had been recommended in the wake of the ‘Women of Honour’ report into widespread mistreatment of female members of the Defence Forces including harassment, abuse, and discrimination.

However, the recommendation that all serious allegations of a sexual nature were dealt with by gardaí required legislation which the Tánaiste and Minister for Defence did not want to wait for.

In his letter, Mr Martin asked that commanding officers be told that any complaints under the Criminal (Rape) Amendment Act should not be investigated by military police.

In correspondence with the Chief of Staff Lieut Gen Seán Clancy, the Tánaiste wrote: “I would ask you to confirm that the interim arrangements have been put in place as soon as possible.”

In a handwritten note, Lieut Gen Clancy said a concise order was to be issued “immediately” to all commanders noting their victim’s handbook, their victim-centred approach, and the need to “comply” with the requirements suggested by Micheál Martin.