TI Ireland is the only Irish NGO specialising in research, advocacy and delivery of services aimed at supporting whistleblowers and stopping corruption at home and overseas.
Since 2004, it has undertaken research on National Integrity Systems (2009 and 2012), whistleblowing legislation and experiences in Ireland (2010, 2015 and 2018), Local Government integrity (2018 and 2019), lobbying ethics (2014 and 2015) and money laundering/asset recovery (2020 (forthcoming)). Its research and advocacy have contributed to the drafting and implementation of legislation including the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (PDA), Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 and Criminal Justice (Corrupt Offences) Act 2018.
In 2011, TI Ireland launched the Speak Up Helpline, Ireland’s only non-profit service providing free confidential information and advice to whistleblowers and witnesses of wrongdoing. It has helped over 1,400 people to date.
Its former clients include Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson. TI Ireland’s helpline has also generated a unique data-set of experiences and systemic patterns that have been analysed in three Speak Up Reports in 2015, 2017 and 2020. These reports have been used to inform policy makers, employers and law enforcement agencies on strategies aimed at preventing corruption and promoting good governance. We have seen a 123% increase in the proportion of whistleblowers calling since the PDA was enacted. This has led to a sharp rise in demand for free legal advice from clients.
In response to this demand, we established the Transparency Legal Advice Centre (TLAC), as the only independent law centre in Ireland that specialises in providing free legal advice on protected disclosures. Since 2016, TLAC has engaged 90 clients, providing an estimated 30-33 hours of support to each one. The market value of this advice is calculated to be approximately €10,000 per client - most workers could not afford this advice without TLAC and TI Ireland’s support. It is estimated that it has provided free legal advice to whistleblowers valued at over €800,000 to date. This is about three times the amount it has cost to operate the centre to date, meaning that every €10 donated allows TLAC solicitors give €30 of free legal advice to whistleblowers.
TI Ireland’s innovative approach to stopping corruption and promoting good governance also involves working with public bodies and other stakeholders to build their institutional capacity to address wrongdoing through its Integrity at Work programme. This initiative promotes safe working environments for anyone reporting misconduct and involves the delivery of training, guidance and standard setting for member organisations. Twenty-eight employers in Ireland have joined the programme including An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and the Revenue Commissioners. In addition, it is frequently called upon by international organisations such as the UNODC, EU Commission, and OECD for advice.
TI Ireland’s work on whistleblowing has been featured on the European Commission’s Horizon Results Platform showcasing the impact of EU funding. The Chapter's founding Chief Executive, John Devitt was a recipient of the Dublin City University Alumni Award in 2018 for his contribution to Irish society arising from this work. John was also elected as Chairperson of the Whistleblowing International Network of the world’s leading whistleblower-support NGOs in 2019.
More recently, TI Ireland has promoted financial accountability and the use of information technologies through its National Integrity Index (NII) which analyses transparency, and accountability in Irish Local Authorities.
During 2018 and 2019, it has supported the establishment and work of the Open Government Association Ireland and Digital Action in partnership with the Open Society Foundation and the Community Foundation of Ireland respectively. In 2014, the Chapter also coordinated Ireland’s first civil society and public consultation on the Irish government’s OGP National Action Plan.
TI Ireland has also contributed to numerous reports and advocacy efforts on international conventions, law enforcement, anti-money laundering/asset recovery, and civil society freedom. More information is available on our resources page.