Opposition parties have called on the Government to set up an independent inquiry into allegations of harrassment, abuse, and assault in the Defence Forces.

The calls follow an investigation broadcast by RTÉ Radio One today, revealing a series of allegations relating to conduct within the Defence Forces.

Titled Women of Honour, the programme detailed the experiences of former female members and included accounts from women who spoke of incidents of alleged sexual abuse.

The Department of Defence said in a statement today that it was both concerned about the allegations made and for the welfare of the women who spoke to the programme.

Sinn Féin's defence spokesperson Sorca Clarke said today that the allegations made are "very serious and deeply disturbing".

"I support survivors' calls for an independent inquiry into these allegations. It is imperative that immediate action is taken to establish the extent of these issues and ensure that steps are taken to ensure justice for survivors."

Social Democrat defence spokesperson Gary Gannon said: "It is clear that there remains a culture of bullying, misogyny and discrimination against women that is not only tolerated, but continues to thrive in today's defence forces.

"I will further be calling for the Minister for Defence, and the Secretary General of his Department, to come to our Committee to answer questions about the length of time he has been aware of these complaints and to request an independent investigation into this toxic culture."

Labour's Mark Wall said that the contents of the programme required "urgent attention from the minister" while Áontu's Peadar Tóibín said there must be an independent and external investigation into sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination within the Defence Forces.

In a statement, the Department of Defence said Minister Simon Coveney had been made aware of some of the complaints made within the programme, "but not the specific details of all".

"In light of today's programme, the Minister will ask for the content of the programme to be reviewed and that current and planned actions be assessed to ensure that they address fully all issues raised," the department said.

The Defence Forces also issued a statement, and said it treated all incidents of sexual harassment, harassment and assault with the "utmost seriousness".

"We are committed to ensuring that all personnel are provided with a safe working environment as per the dignity charter for the Defence Forces.

"Óglaigh na hÉireann urges anyone who has been the victim of alleged criminality, breaches of military discipline, or who has been the victim of any such behaviour, or anyone with information of alleged criminality who is speaking on behalf of a victim, recent or historic, to present that information to the Military Police or An Garda Síochána."