Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2008: From the Seanad

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

There are two amendments to be dealt with and as the amendments are related they may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 1:

Section 4: In page 5, line 23, to delete "has been or is being" and substitute "may have been or may be being".

These two amendments were tabled by the Labour Party on Committee Stage in the Seanad and following some discussion I agreed to accept them. We believe the wording is more nuanced and will encourage whistleblowers to report corruption. It is clear from the wording elsewhere in section 4 of the Bill that whistleblowers must avoid knowingly or recklessly making a false, misleading, frivolous or vexatious report. These amendments make it clear that an honest whistleblower acting in good faith can come forward to report their opinion that an offence may have occurred, safe in the knowledge that they are not required to be certain that it has occurred.

The corresponding amendment to section 8(a)(3) aligns the wording of the offence of making a false report of suspected corruption to that in subsection (1) which I have just mentioned. The offence of making a false report will refer to a false report “that a person may have committed or may be committing” a corruption offence. I believe the amendments tabled by the Labour Party are acceptable and I recommend them to the House.

On behalf of Deputy Rabbitte and the Labour Party I thank the Minister for accepting what are reasonable amendments that clarify the position and give some security to people coming forward. We accept there is always the danger of vexatious reporting but people must be secure in the knowledge that if they legitimately suspect corruption they can report it and are secure as a result of these two amendments.

I support the amendments also. They encourage more transparency, and protection for whistleblowers will be always welcome on this side of the House.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 2:
Section 4: In page 5, line 41, to delete "has committed or is" and substitute "may have committed or may be".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Question, "That Seanad amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are hereby agreed to and agreement to the amendments is accordingly reported to the House", put and agreed to.

A message will be sent to the Seanad advising it in that regard.