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 Dáil Éireann
Supplementary Order Paper
(The Labour Party)
7 - 8 February 2006


Fógra i dtaobh leasú ar Thairiscint:
Notice of amendment to Motion

"That Dáil Éireann,

  • recalling calls made by Irish Nurses Organisation, the Irish Bank Officials Association and the Irish Airline Pilots Association, amongst others, for comprehensive statutory protection for employees and others who blow the whistle on significant, illegal and unacceptable practices that can otherwise become established and remain unidentified over long periods, even by those charged with conducting inspections;
  • bearing in mind the recommendation of the Standards in Public Office Commission that a whistleblowers charter be introduced for local government employees; and
  • having regard to the findings and recommendations of the Lourdes Hospital Inquiry;

noting that:

  • the Whistleblowers Protection Bill 1999 was introduced on the 24th March, 1999, had its Second Stage on the 15th and 16th June of that year and was referred to the Select Committee on Enterprise and Small Business;
  • on the 30th March, 2000, the then Minister for Finance told the Dáil, in a statement on the CPA Report on the DIRT Inquiry, that: 'The sub-Committee further recommended that a scheme and procedure for bank officials to report suspected wrongdoing be introduced. I understand that the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment will be bringing forward proposals in this area in the near future. These are expected to take the form of amendments to the Whistleblowers Protection Bill 1999 which was initiated in the Dáil last year as a Private Member's Bill';
  • on the 8th November, 2000, the then Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, with special responsibility for Labour, Trade and Consumer Affairs confirmed that the Bill was one of a number of upcoming pieces of legislation currently being developed within his area of responsibility;
  • on the 4th December, 2000, the Taoiseach wrote, in an article in The Irish Times setting out his Government's proposals for a package of measures to combat corruption, that 'I am announcing a set of proposals which meet the need for modernisation and transparency, while at the same time allowing for the continuing development of a fully inclusive and dynamic body politic. These proposals include. the introduction of legislation to protect whistleblowers';
  • - the annual report of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for 2001 stated that: 'The Whistleblowers (Protection) Bill 1999, which protects employees from civil liability or penalisation by their employers for disclosing to other persons information relating to serious wrongdoing, was extensively amended. In 2001 extensive amendments were prepared based on consultations with all Government Departments and have now been forwarded to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting';
  • although the Bill lapsed on the dissolution of the 28th Dáil on the 24th April, 2002, it was by Order of the 18th June, 2002, restored to the Order Paper, on the motion of the Government Whip;
  • the Bill also featured in a report to the Government of the High Level Group on Regulation, published in November, 2002, under the heading 'Phase 2 Reforms', being those reforms recommended by the OECD the implementation of which was envisaged for the medium term; and
  • the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service, in its report of June, 2005, on commercial bank charges and interest rates, stated that whistleblowing should receive statutory protection and recommended unanimously that the Whistleblowers Protection Bill 1999 should be progressed;

conscious of the subsequent inexcusable delay in the consideration of this Bill, resolves that, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders:

  • the Order of the Dáil of the 18th June, 2002, to the extent that it orders that the Whistleblowers Protection Bill 1999 be considered in Committee of the whole Dáil, be discharged and that the Bill be referred to the Select Committee on Enterprise and Small Business pursuant to Standing Order 112 and paragraph (1)(a)(i) of the Committee's Orders of Reference,
  • that it be an Instruction to the Select Committee that proceedings on the Bill be commenced as the next immediate item of business of the Committee and be progressed with all due expedition and that, immediately after the conclusion of those proceedings, the Committee shall, in accordance with Standing Order 85, send a message to the Dáil in relation to the completion of its consideration of the Bill: Provided that, if those proceedings are not earlier concluded, the Select Committee shall report back to the Dáil its progress on those proceedings on the 1st day of June, 2006."

Pat Rabbitte, Enda Kenny, Brendan Howlin, Phil Hogan, Michael D. Higgins, Liz McManus, Emmet Stagg, Thomas P. Broughan, Joan Burton, Joe Costello, Eamon Gilmore, Kathleen Lynch, Breeda Moynihan-Cronin, Jan O'Sullivan, Brian O'Shea, Seamus Pattison, Willie Penrose, Ruairi Quinn, Seán Ryan, Joe Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Mary Upton, Jack Wall, Richard Bruton, Bernard Allen, Pat Breen, Paul Connaughton, Simon Coveney, Seymour Crawford, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Bernard J. Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Tom Hayes, Paul Kehoe, Padraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Paul McGrath, Gay Mitchell, Olivia Mitchell, Gerard Murphy, Denis Naughten, Dan Neville, Michael Noonan, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, John Perry, Michael Ring, David Stanton, Billy Timmins, Liam Twomey.


Leasú:
Amendment:

1. To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and substitute the following:

  • notes this reaffirmation of the Government's commitment to the protection of Whistleblowers; being persons who legitimately bring to the attention of the appropriate authority, sensitive information gained in the course of their employment and notes that Government has already demonstrated this commitment by providing appropriate Whistleblower provisions in a series of statutes enacted by the House as well as in legislative proposals currently before this House;
  • notes the very significant legal and drafting issues which have arisen in the drafting of a single all-encompassing legislative proposal on Whistleblowing;
  • supports the Government in its decisions to proceed on a case by case basis with appropriate Whistleblowing provisions, as either enacted by the Oireachtas or currently before this House, rather than await the possible resolution of wider complex legal issues;
  • notes the Government's approach will continue to provide a series of opportunities for the House to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate Whistleblower provisions on a sectoral basis; and
  • endorses the Government's intention to continue to pursue the sectoral approach which will supersede the all-encompassing approach proposed in the Private Members Bill of 1999."

An tAire Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta.


TEACHTAIREACHTAÍ ÓN RIALTAS
MESSAGES FROM THE GOVERNMENT

An Bille um Athchóiriú an Dlí Leasa Shóisialaigh agus um Pinsin 2006:
Social Welfare Law Reform and Pensions Bill 2006:

For the purpose of Article 17.2 of the Constitution, the Government recommend that it is expedient to authorise such payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas as are necessary to give effect to any Act of the present session to amend and extend the Social Welfare Acts, the Pensions Act 1990, the Combat Poverty Agency Act 1986, the Freedom of Information Act 1997, the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and the Carer's Leave Act 2001.

Given on this 7th day of March, 2006


(Signed)
Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach.