Any complaints of sexual harassment within the ruling party? Fine Gael won’t say...
FINE GAEL has refused to reveal how many complaints of sexual harassment have been made within the party even though Leo Varadkar claimed Leinster House was a ‘safe place’ for women to work earlier this week.
And the Department of Health has admitted it doesn’t even keep records of sexual harassment or bullying claims.
On Wednesday, the Taoiseach said of the Oireachtas: ‘From my experience, it is a safe place for women to go about their daily lives.’
After requests from this newspaper, Fine Gael would not say how many complaints of sexual harassment had been made internally.
Oireachtas officials were also reluctant to come forward with figures, saying they would have to be obtained via Freedom of Information. The Irish Mail on Sunday asked all departments and the main political parties how many complaints of harassment had been made in the past ten years and their policies for dealing with such complaints.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said it ‘does not keep specific records’ to complaints covered in the civil service sexual harassment policy, Dignity At Work. Eighteen complaints were made over the period across the ten departments that responded fully to our survey, including seven each at Social Protection and Transport. The Taoiseach’s department had had zero complaints. The Departments of Business and of Agriculture did not answer the question on numbers though they forwarded their policies. Two departments, Education and Foreign Affairs, did not respond at all.
Fianna Fáil, the Social Democrats and People Before Profit said they’d had no complaints. Neither Sinn Féin nor Labour responded to the MoS’s requests.