Gender Equality

Photo of Tom and the Women of Honour in the Oireachtas

Senator Dr Tom Clonan completed his Doctoral research on Widespread Sexual Violence in the Defence Forces. He documented the accounts of 60 women in the Irish Armed Forces and their experiences of rape and sexual assault. When his research was published, he became the target of whistle-blower reprisals; Transparency International recognised this.

Former friends and comrades in arms participated in a vicious campaign to discredit him as a captain and credible military scholar. He was accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act and fabricating his findings. Military Police also threatened Senator Clonan and his family in their home.

Later an independent government enquiry confirmed his findings of discriminatory policies and a toxic culture of bullying and sexual violence was accurate. Senator Clonan was the person who called for this enquiry following false allegations from members of the Irish Armed Forces.

Later an independent government enquiry confirmed his findings of discriminatory policies and a toxic culture of bullying and sexual violence was accurate. Senator Clonan was the person who called for this enquiry following false allegations from members of the Irish Armed Forces. 

Doctor Tom Clonan discussing gender equality

Vision

Photo of Tom and the Women of Honour in the Oireachtas

Senator Clonan continues to campaign against gender discrimination and sexual violence:

• Senator Clonan invited former women members of the Irish Defence Forces who were featured in Katie Hannon’s RTÉ documentary Women of Honour into Leinster House. During a speech in the Seanad, he made a statement about how women in the Irish Armed Forces are obliged to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).

• Following the broadcast of the Women of Honour documentary, Irish Armed Forces personnel of all genders confided in him about their experiences of rape and sexual assault. His work continues to be important in this area.

• Senator Clonan has sat on the Higher Education Authority’s expert group on ending sexual violence and harassment in Ireland’s third-level sector. In 2021, he was appointed to the Technological University, Dublin (TUD) High-Level Task Force on ending sexual violence and harassment.

Read all Tom’s Gender Equality News