An urgent independent review is to be carried out into claims of abuse raised by women in the Defence Forces.
The Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney met with the Women of Honour group, which is made up of retired members of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps.
He also met with 14 women who are currently serving in the Defence Forces.
The allegations of sexism, bullying, sexual assault and rape in the Defence Forces were first reported in an RTÉ Radio One documentary.
Speaking after the meetings, Minister Coveney expressed his “deep appreciation” to the women for speaking out.
“The issues they have raised are of the utmost seriousness and need to be addressed in the most comprehensive way possible,” he said.
He said the meetings highlighted “very strong views” that the culture in the Defence Forces and the procedures for dealing with bullying, harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault “have not and are not serving all Defence Forces personnel well.”
“I would like to say sorry to anyone who has suffered during their time in the Defence Forces and assure them The State will now urgently carry out an Independent Review.’
He said the review will be undertaken by “external and entirely independent and unbiased experts in this field.”
The terms of reference for the review are currently being drawn up and will take account of the opinions expressed at the meetings.
Minister Coveney said interim measures will be taken to support members past or present affected by the issues.
“I wish to commend the women for their service and commitment to the Defence Forces as an Organisation,” he said.
“I know from my discussions today that you are seeking change to ensure that the Defence Forces of the future is a place where inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated and where all individuals, both female and male, can reach their full potential.
I am fully committed, together with the Secretary General of my Department, and the Chief of Staff Designate, to ensuring that each and every single member of the Defence Forces has the right to be treated with respect, equality and dignity and to carry out their duties in a safe workplace, underpinned by a culture of zero-tolerance for any kind of bullying, discrimination, or harassment.”