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Anti-corruption group calls for whistleblower protection for all employees

9 December 2009

International Anti Corruption Day – 9 December 2009 - The Irish chapter of Transparency International (TI) has called on the Irish Government to provide legal protection to anyone who reports evidence or a genuine suspicion of wrongdoing. TI Ireland is currently leading a campaign for legal safeguards for whistleblowers in Ireland and will publish a study and draft whistleblower legislation in the New Year.

The campaign is sponsored by the European Commission and a regional report has been published by TI offering a summary of measures across ten EU countries including Ireland. The full country study for Ireland is due to be published on 11 January 2010.

The Government has introduced some whistleblower safeguards for employees in response to a chain of scandals in the public and private sector. Yet the approach taken has been piecemeal and ineffective according to John Devitt, Chief Executive of TI Ireland.

“Our study shows serious gaps in the legal framework for whistleblowers. Not all employees in either the public or private sector are safe from retaliation if they report wrongdoing. There is little if any protection for whistleblowers in the financial services and business sector, while whistleblower codes and guidance throughout the public service are virtually non-existent', said Mr Devitt

‘The need for an overarching whistleblower law is staring the Government in the face, but it remains actively opposed. Its response is all the more shocking after what has been exposed in our banking sector and the role fear and silence played in covering up the sexual abuse of children for decades”.

Marking International Anti-Corruption Day, the campaign group has also called for Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The Irish government is one of the few signatories to the UN Convention not to have ratified and implemented the international treaty.

“The UNCAC is to the prevention of corruption and promotion of democracy what the Kyoto Protocol is to climate change, yet Ireland is still dragging its heels. Ireland agreed to ratify this treaty in 2003, but almost seven years later we’re still waiting. It’s getting embarrassing”, added Mr Devitt.