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'Good employers have nothing to fear from whistleblowers legislation'

Brendan Howlin says the Protected Disclosures Bill is about a ‘change in culture’.

THE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE Minister says that the new whistleblowers legislation is not designed to frighten employers, it is designed empower workers.

Introducing the Protected Disclosures Bill 2013 into the Dáil tonight, Brendan Howlin called the bill a “catalyst to change”.

“I see the introduction of such protections as a catalyst for a change which views openness and transparency as an asset rather than a liability, a change towards a culture that values the contribution of employees and citizens and recognises those contributions as positive, effective tools in working towards the achievement of the common good rather than as something to be limited or destroyed.

Good employers have nothing to fear from their employees reporting things that are going wrong. The ideal therefore is to encourage employers to adopt a culture that readily accepts reports of wrongdoing from its workers.

The bill was agreed by Seán Fleming of Fianna Fáil and Mary-Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin.

McDonald said that while she welcomed the bill, she felt the timing, in light of a Garda whistleblower appearing before the Public Accounts Committee to be ironic.

““The irony of the Minister presenting the Protected Disclosures Bill at this time will not be lost on many in light of recent events at the PAC.

Last week government Ministers cynically used the media to question the motivation of opposition members of the committee, undermining the work of the PAC and arguably the whistleblower himself.

“Brendan Howlin must ensure that the necessary supports, resources and training are provided to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the Whistleblower legislation.”

Read: Damien Kiberd: Are whistleblowers saints? The ethics can be complicated

Read: Garda whistleblower will speak to PAC today…but you won’t be able to watch

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