WHISTLEBLOWER LAW MUST BE BACKED BY EFFECTIVE PROTECTION AND SANCTIONS

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has said that proposed new measures on whistleblowing must be backed by tough sanctions, not just in law but in practice, to stop employers attempting to “victimise or target people who blow the whistle on bad or illegal practices.”

Welcoming publication of the new Government proposals, Congress Legal Affairs Officer, Esther Lynch said: “This represents a giant step in the right direction, but in order for the proposed measures to work, they must be backed by effective safeguards for whistleblowers and real sanctions for those who target them.”

Ms Lynch said that while whistleblower protection would not of itself prevent wrongdoing, it was “a necessary component and something trade unions have called for consistently. With effective whistleblower protection in place, wrongdoing can be quickly exposed.”

She said Congress would be pressing for other changes to the proposed legislation, including: a broadening the range of workers who are protected – to include interns and apprentices – and protection for workers who make reports on violations of labour standards to the National Employment Right Authority (NERA).

Congress will also propose that the protections apply immediately, with no qualifying service period.