President Michael D Higgins has spoken of his hurt and shame at reading the independent review into abuse within the Defence Forces, which was published earlier this week.

In a statement, he said the review highlights that "there can be no continuation of any of this deeply unacceptable, indeed criminal, behaviour".

The review, which was published on Tuesday after 15 months of investigation, recommended a full statutory inquiry into the controversy.

Interviewees told investigators of bullying, mobbing and sexual harassment within the Defence Forces, which caused long-term pain and injury.

A total of 88% of female respondents surveyed for the review reported experiencing one or more forms of sexual harassment.

The report found some members of management "crossed the line" by undermining individuals' human dignity through an absence of respect.

The President, who is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, said there was now a need for "a restructuring of the relationship between officer and enlisted ranks".

He praised those who came forward to document the abuse, describing them as "some of the bravest of the brave to have served our country".

President Higgins said that, through their actions, it had been proven that the abuse was "not a simple set of random occurrences" but a systemic problem of "... bullying, harassment, discrimination, and sexual harassment within the Defence Forces".

He welcomed "the Government's speedy and full acceptance of the recommendations of the review" but added pointedly: "The public will now expect that these recommendations be implemented in full and without delay."