Dublin, 26 May 2011 – Transparency International Ireland (TI Ireland) will launch its new ‘Speak Up’ Helpline, Ireland’s first service for whistleblowers and victims of corruption, today. The Speak Up Helpline will offer free, confidential information to people facing ethical dilemmas, those reporting concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace, waste and fraud in public bodies, or people or organisations that have been the victim of corruption or white collar crime. The service is the first of its kind in Western Europe, although Transparency International chapters already operate such helplines in around forty countries worldwide.
According to TI Ireland Chief Executive John Devitt, the new service will offer people the opportunity to "follow their conscience knowing that there is support and information available when it’s needed. It takes courage and integrity to speak up and report corruption, fraud or the abuse of power. This service will offer people a new source support and a safer way to report”.
Where necessary, TI Ireland will also provide a free referral service to a network of lawyers and other professionals who may be in a position to help callers to the service, while TI Ireland will report concerns to employers or the relevant authorities on behalf of workers or citizens where both parties agree. The statistics gathered by TI Ireland from the service will be published in periodic reports and will help identify systemic problems and in advocating for political or legal reform.
Individuals will be able to call Freephone 1800 844 866 to speak with a volunteer from TI Ireland, or log onto www.speakup.ie to send an anonymous or confidential message online. The ‘Hushmail’ email system used by TI Ireland is electronically encrypted and will allow for people to contact the helpline with reduced risk of the email accounts being hacked. The free phone service will be operated from TI Ireland’s Transparency Resource Centre in Dublin and will be open from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
“I have been receiving calls from the public or whistleblowers for a long time asking for support and have planned this service for close to four years but we were never able to secure the financial support to launch it. Given everything that we have learned about fraud, waste and corruption in both public bodies and our banks, it is a shame we weren't in a position to get it off the ground sooner. Maybe people just didn't see the need,” said Mr Devitt.
Pilot funding for the ‘Speak Up’ helpline and service is now being provided as part of an independent feasibility study by British and German universities of the service and funded by the European Commission. Core funding for Transparency International Ireland comes from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and public donations.
“Speak Up is inspired by the work of our TI colleagues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where thousands of people are helped in reporting corruption, fraud or waste by public officials every year. TI chapters have made a huge difference to the way in which the state is held accountable by its citizens. I’m sure ‘Speak Up’ and TI Ireland will have the same effect here”, said John Devitt, Chief Executive of TI Ireland.
The service is being launched by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform, Brendan Howlin, TD, Ombudsman & Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly, and Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers Bob Semple at 6.30pm in the Wood Quay Venue, Dublin.
List of services
- Free confidential information to people who wish to honestly report concerns regarding abuse of power (such as corruption) or harm to others in the workplace (including fraud, waste of public resources or negligence).
- Free sourcing and referral to legal advisors where individuals require legal advice and representation.
- Expert and peer support to individuals who wish to bring public attention to bona fide cases of systemic abuses of power, white collar crime or corruption.
- Provide advice or support to people seeking official information and wishing to encourage a culture of openness and integrity.
- Report concerns to employers or the relevant authorities on behalf of workers or citizens where both the individual and recipient of information (e.g. the employer or state authority) agree.
- Collect and publish statistical data from complaints/reports received so that corruption risks can be identified and addressed by those in a position to do something.
- The Speak Up helpline will help TI Ireland and others advocate for systemic change on the broader issues directly relating to its case-work
About Transparency International Ireland
Transparency International (TI) Ireland is an independent non profit organisation, dedicated to promoting integrity in Irish society. It is a full member of the global Transparency International movement which includes chapters, individual members and partner organisations in over 100 countries. TI Ireland works with this movement and the TI International Secretariat based in Berlin, Germany in stopping corruption worldwide.
95,000 calls have been made to TI’s 40 other helplines worldwide since 2003.
TI Ireland is based at its newly opened Transparency Resource Centre in Dublin City Centre. The chapter was founded in 2004.
Its vision is an Ireland that is open and fair – and where entrusted power is used in the interest of everyone. TI Ireland’s mission is to empower people with the support they need to promote integrity and stop corruption in all its forms.