A young Balbriggan mum who claims bullying in the army ruined her life says she’s now too scared to get another job working outside the home.
Ex-soldier Jayne Robinson (36) revealed she still takes anti-depressants five years after leaving the Defence Forces and the stress of her ordeal has left her “broken”.
The mum-of-four was afraid to leave the house for two years after her discharge and she has now started a petition to the Defence Minister calling for an investigation.
Jayne, who served overseas in Kosovo, told Dublin Gazette: “My commanding officer started bullying me after I was transferred to a new unit.
“Everything I did he watched. I remember once I went to the toilet and he marked me absent from gate duty. If I was one minute late, he was on my back.
“I had 12 years clear on my record then I was brought up 12 times in the space of two months with this officer. It stood out a million miles that I was being picked on.”
Jayne suffered a traumatic birth with her third son Deakon, now five, who almost died after delivery with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.
She said: “When I came back from maternity leave [the senior] officer said, ‘You better not even attempt to go sick or I will have you f***ed out of the army’.
“I couldn’t believe it. Once I had a severe kidney infection and I was not believed. I was told a second doctor would take my bloods. It was horrendous.”
With three young boys to care for, Jayne was transferred to Dundalk, Co Louth, without any say in the matter, even though she was struggling to make ends meet.
The Balbriggan mum said: “My take-home pay was €390 a week – that was to pay a mortgage, childminder and everything else – and on top of that I had to pay motorway tolls.
“In seven years, I would have had a State pension, and I left with nothing. It broke me completely.
“I’ve no self-esteem. I don’t think I could take another job working with people again, I wouldn’t be able for it.
“I’ve four young boys, my husband works for the council, we’re in mortgage arrears, we’re absolutely broke, we have no money.”
After her ordeal, Jayne has found solace with the Balbriggan Gospel Choir she helped set up a year ago. But she said she is “still angry” and wants an investigation.
The Department of Defence said it does not comment on individual cases, adding that any known incidents of bullying or harassment are “properly investigated”.