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Minister Howlin announces commencement of comprehensive Whistleblower protection legislation

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin TD today, 15 July 2014 announced the commencement of the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014.

The legislation meets the commitment included in the Programme for Government to introduce comprehensive whistleblower protection legislation.

The Minister said, “I am delighted to bring this legislation into effect following the recent completion of its passage through the Oireachtas. This legislation sets a new standard in terms of international best practice for whistleblower protection. It sends out a very clear message that whistleblowers’ concerns must be listened to and acted on and those who make such reports should not be penalised for doing so.”

Key features of the legislation highlighted by the Minister include:-

- comprehensive coverage, including all employees, contractors, agency workers, members of the Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces;

- the absence of any good faith or public interest test which could otherwise act as a significant deterrent to making a protected disclosure;

- the scope for protection of a disclosure made prior to the legislation coming into effect;

- the availability of interim relief if an employee is dismissed for having made a protected disclosure;

- access to the State’s industrial relations machinery for securing redress against penalisation for having made a protected disclosure;

- compensation of up to five years remuneration;

- strong protections against the disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity;