Dublin, 27 February 2012
Transparency International Ireland (TI Ireland) has welcomed the publication today of proposals for new legislation that should offer protection for whistleblowers across the public and private sectors. The Protected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill 2012 will allow anyone working in business, government and the non-profit sectors comprehensive safeguards when disclosing information to their employers, the authorities, TDs or the press.
John Devitt, Chief Executive of TI Ireland which has been campaigning for universal whistleblower legislation for a number of years said, ‘This legislation could be as important as the original Freedom of Information Act in protecting the public interest. There are some improvements to be made, but I think we’re on the right track’.
The aim of the new legislation is to protect workers in all sectors of the economy against reprisals for sharing information relating to wrongdoing, cover-ups and other harm to the public interest which comes to their attention in the workplace. It will encourage workers to report concerns internally and demand stronger evidence of wrongdoing or fear of retaliation if the whistleblower reports to someone other than their employer. Whistleblowers will be protected against dismissal or disciplinary action by their employers as well as civil legal action taken against them for revealing information in good faith.
The new legislation is influenced by whistleblower legislation in the UK and New Zealand as well as international principles and research conducted by TI and other international organisations. TI Ireland launched Ireland’s first whistleblower and ethics helpline called ‘Speak Up’ in May 2011 and will be using data collected from almost 200 clients to advise the government on how the legislation will work in practice. TI Ireland are also encouraging people reporting wrongdoing to seek advice from their free Speak Up helpline at 1800 844 866 or to log on to www.speakup.ie for more information.
Media contact: John Devitt – 01 612 7064