Issue 57

Print FriendlyPrint This Article

Voluntary sector whistleblowers

Speaking on what was called the ‘whistleblowers’ Bill, the Protected disclosures Bill, 2013, Thomas Byrne (FF, cultural & educational) expressed his concern about the situation of volunteer whistleblowers in voluntary, charitable organizations  (Seanad Eireann, 1st October 2013, 355).  Even though they were not in the same position as salaried employees, they were still important and he wanted them included in the protection provided by the Bill.  Replying, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin told him that he had examined international legislation from abroad, including Britain and there was a strong consensus that protection should not extend beyond the workplace. Volunteers could not be fired, so they did not need the protection of labour laws, he added.  Thomas Byrne, though, pointed out that they could still be blacklisted or given the cold shoulder.  The minister said that we could not craft legislation to suit every individual and the legislation was to protect the whistleblower in the workplace.