The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces has said allegations of sexual harassment outlined in a recent RTÉ documentary are "abhorrent" and encouraged all members to call out inappropriate behaviour.

Lieutenant General Sean Clancy was speaking at the Biennial Delegate Conference of the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers in Naas this afternoon.

LT Clancy said over the past few months he has listened to "distressing and unacceptable" service experiences.

"I would urge and encourage all members of Óglaigh na hÉireann to call out any inappropriate behaviour and to have the moral courage and confidence to report issues."

He said the problem will not be fixed overnight but there can be lasting change through strong leadership and the fostering of a positive culture.

The RTÉ radio documentary 'Women of Honour' was discussed by RACO delegates over the past two days with officers this afternoon unanimously voting in favour of a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.

The Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) represents 1,200 Army, Naval Service and Air Corps officers.

They say they are burnt out, with many forced to double or triple job to fill the shortfall of 1,000 staff across the Defence Forces.

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RACO General Secretary Comdt Conor King said the Defence Forces are "over-stretched, over-committed and overlooked by Government".

Comdt King said with 560 military personnel deployed overseas and the same amount preparing to go, Ireland is now "over-committed" to overseas missions.

He said this generates significant gaps in home units, impacting on recruitment, training, health and safety of personnel and good governance.

President Comdt Luke Foley described the impact of the recruitment and retention challenges as "debilitating on members".

He said: "We need to radically address what is becoming a worrying trend. Our force's strength continues to reduce, which is putting extraordinary pressure on our members".