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Steps to protect whistleblowers announced

Posted on February 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Minister Brendan Howlin

A key part of the Government's political reform agenda has been announced with the publication of the heads of the Protected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill 2012. The whistleblower legislation, announced by Minister Brendan Howlin, will protect 'whistleblowers who speak out against wrongdoing, or cover-ups, whether in the public or private sector'.

"This is a huge advancement from the previous piecemeal approach where the patchwork of protections resulted in a fragmented and confusing standards of protection," Minister Howlin said.

Among the measures contained in the whistleblowers' legislation include:

  • have as their main objective ensuring the protection of workers in all sectors of the economy (i.e. public and private) against reprisals in circumstances that they make a disclosure of information relating to wrongdoing which comes to their attention in the workplace;
  • provide for a "stepped" disclosure regime in which a number of distinct disclosure channels are available - internal, "regulatory" and external - and through which the worker can, subject to different evidential thresholds, make a protected disclosure;
  • seek to safeguard a worker who has made a protected disclosure from being subject to occupational detriment also providing immunity against civil liability and criminal liability in certain circumstances;
  • make available certain significant remedies providing redress for workers who suffer detriment as a consequence of having made a protected disclosure;
  • confer "protected disclosure" status on disclosures made under existing sectoral whistleblowing legislation to ensure, as much as possible, a uniform standard of protection.

You can read more of Minister Howlin's statement on the legislation in our media centre and the Minister was also speaking on Morning Ireland about it which you can listen back to on the RTE website.

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