27/02/2012

Bill Plans To Protect Whistleblowers

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister, Brendan Howlin, today published the Draft Heads of the Protected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill 2012.

Welcoming the publication Minister Howlin stated: "This Government is committed to a significant political reform agenda. A key part of this as set out in the programme for Government is our commitment to legislate to protect Whistleblowers who speak out against wrongdoing, or cover-ups, whether in public or the private sector.

"The Heads of Bill published today will provide, for the first time for employees in Ireland, a single overarching framework protecting whistleblowers in a uniform manner in all sectors of the economy. This is a huge advancement from the previous piecemeal approach where the patchwork of protections resulted in a fragmented and confusing standards of protection.

"I am publishing the heads of Bill today to inform public debate on the measures and it is my intention to publish the Protected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill 2012 in the second quarter of this year."

Some of the objectives of the proposals published today are to ensure the protection of workers in all sectors of the economy against reprisals in circumstances that they make a disclosure of information relating to wrongdoing; provide for a "stepped" disclosure regime in which a number of distinct disclosure channels are available and seek to safeguard a worker who has made a protected disclosure from being subject to occupational detriment.

In addition, the proposed legislation highlights the responsibility of employers to put effective internal mechanisms in place to investigate whistleblowing complaints.

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