DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald).
To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied that the environment in An Garda Síochána is an appropriate one for whistleblowers; if she has formally discussed these matters in 2015 with the Garda Commissioner; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Clare Daly
The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 came into operation on 15 July, 2014 as part of this Government’s comprehensive approach to enhance the protection available to whistle blowers, including Garda whistleblowers. Section 19 of the Act inserted a new provision into the Garda Síochána Act 2005, which provides for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) to be a prescribed person under the 2014 Act to investigate disclosures relating to the Garda Síochána, including disclosures from members of the Garda Síochána. The new provision also repealed the Garda Síochána (Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice) Regulations 2007. The Statutory Instrument (No. 339 of 2014) which prescribed GSOC as a body to receive protected disclosures was signed into law on 23 July, 2014.
Members of the Garda Síochána may now communicate their concerns to the Garda Commissioner (as their employer) or to GSOC (as a prescribed body) under the provisions of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 and are entitled to the protections provided by the Act.
I am satisfied that the legislative provisions now in place under the 2014 Act, including the protections afforded for whistleblowers, will prove to be an effective remedy for members who wish to report their concerns regarding potential wrongdoing.
As to the question relating to my discussions with the Garda Commissioner, the Deputy may be aware that I have regular discussions with the Commissioner across a wide range of issues that relate to our respective roles.