Soldiers Have A Right To Free Speech

The government has introduced a Defence (Amendment) Bill (2023) which amounts to a gagging order on the right of soldiers to speak out.

Its original draft made it unlawful for soldiers to attend public demonstrations, either in, or out, of uniform.

As PDFORA, the soldiers’ union pointed out, should a soldier ‘with a sick child wish to demonstrate his dissatisfaction with local hospital services or anything else arising in his local community he would face military charges for doing so.”

Now, however, the Bill stops soldiers speaking out about wider defence policy.

This is crucial as the government is moving to remove neutrality, by getting rid of the Tripple Lock.

In the run up to their conference, PDFORA has again denounced the measure. They said that the Bill ‘is designed to stifle debate – there should be no fear from the members of Óglaigh na hÉireann expressing their views in a democratic society.’