Bill to protect whistleblowers welcomed

Bill to protect whistleblowers welcomed

Brendan Howlin said the Bill would protect whistleblowers in all sectors

Proposed legislation that aims to protect whistleblowers has been welcomed by the anti-corruption group, Transparency International Ireland.

The draft heads of the Bill were published yesterday by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

Mr Howlin said the Bill, when enacted, would provide an overarching framework that would protect whistleblowers in all sectors.

The minister said the main purpose of the Bill was to protect all workers against reprisals in circumstances where they disclose information about wrongdoing in the workplace, whether in the public or private sector.

He said it is the first time there will be one overarching framework for this.

Among the measures in the Bill is a ”stepped” disclosure regime, with a number of distinct channels for people who wish to disclose information – internal, regulatory and external – subject to different evidential thresholds.

The Bill also seeks to safeguard such workers from having their career prospects compromised, and it will also in certain circumstances provide for immunity against civil and criminal liability.

The legislation also highlights the employers’ responsibility to put effective mechanisms in place to investigate whistleblowing complaints, and to create a workplace culture that supports whistleblowing.

Transparency International Ireland said the Bill was “timely and badly needed”.