Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation
An open letter to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys calling on her to withdraw an amendment to Ireland’s whistleblower law which, claim the signatories, could lead to workers facing legal action or criminal prosecution and allow businesses to stop their employees from reporting fraud and corruption to the regulators and the Gardaí.
Via Transparency International ireland
The amendment has been made under the EU Protection of Trade Secrets Regulation and has recently been introduced by Minister Humphreys to transpose the EU Trade Secrets Directive. The regulation amends Ireland’s Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (PDA) to require whistleblowers to show they were motivated by the general public interest, even if they report a crime to the relevant authorities and their allegations are true.
John Devitt, Chief Executive of Transparency International (TI) Ireland, says:
‘”his represents the single-most significant set-back for the fight against white-collar-crime in a decade. Banking and private healthcare whistleblowers are now going to think twice about coming forward.
Requiring a whistleblower to show they were motivated by the general public interest means that many whistleblowers will be expected to show that their motives were pure, that they bore no ill-will towards their colleagues or that they were the ideal employee.
Lawyers for rogue employers or trade-secret holders will inevitably question the whistleblower’s character to show that they were motivated by malice or self-interest’.”
Irish whistleblowers could face criminal prosecution for reporting white-collar-crimes and cover-ups (Transparency Ireland)
Thanks John Finucane
John Devitt, from Transparency International Ireland, above, writes:
“The sacking of an award-winning investigative journalist who had reported on Garda malpractice could deter other reporters from exposing the abuse of power in Ireland. Gemma O’Doherty, an investigative reporter and chief features writer at the Irish Independent newspaper, was dismissed last month. The Guardian newspaper reports that her dismissal followed an investigation into the cancellation of penalty points awarded against Martin Callinan, the Garda (Irish Police) Commissioner.”
“Ms O’Doherty was investigating unlawful cancellations and changes in traffic police records by senior gardaí and also found that the Garda Commissioner had penalty points cancelled after he was detected speeding in his own car. The Commissioner insists that he was speeding while on official Garda business.”
“Ms O’Doherty has worked with the Irish Independent for 16 years and has won numerous awards for her reporting, including Campaigning Journalist of the Year. Her reports into the failure of prosecutors and the Gardaí to fully investigate the death in suspicious circumstances of Roscommon priest Fr. Niall Molloy, led to the reopening of the case in 2010.”
“The National Union of Journalists has stated that Ms O’Doherty has been unfairly treated and is supporting her case for unfair dismissal. TI Ireland is calling for her reinstatement, and for the introduction of editorial policies that protect the independence of investigative journalists and editorial staff at all newspaper groups in Ireland.”
“Late last year, TI Ireland also highlighted the potential chilling effect of legal threats against Irish journalists and commentators during a meeting with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. The Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the threat of litigation against Irish journalists in her report to the UN General Assembly. She called for aggrieved parties to use the Press Council and Press Ombudsman to resolve complaints about the fairness and accuracy of coverage.”
Firing of Gemma O’Doherty may serve to silence investigative journalists in Ireland (Transparency Ireland)
Previously: Difficult To Quash
The UN On Ireland’s Human Rights Defenders (And Denis)
Pic: The Epoch Times