Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (605)

Martin Kenny


605. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Health the reason a former section 39 employee (details supplied) had their request to make a protected disclosure dismissed without examining the details of the protected disclosure. [12791/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

A protected disclosure is defined in the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 as a disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of a worker, tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings came to the attention of the worker in connection with the worker’s employment; and is disclosed in the manner prescribed in the Act.

The Government is committed to facilitating the disclosure of wrongdoing and encouraging workers to make protected disclosures at the earliest possible opportunity.  Such disclosures are taken seriously and the worker making a protected disclosure receives appropriate protection as set out in the legislation. 

Protected disclosures must meet the criteria as set out in Section 5 of the 2014 Act.

Section 5 of the 2014 Act provides protection for workers who disclose information in relation to the following wrongdoings:

The commission of an offence;

1. The failure of a person to comply with any legal obligation, other than one arising under the worker's contract of employment or other contract whereby the worker undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services;

2. A miscarriage of justice;

3. A danger to the health and safety of any individual;

4. Damage to the environment;

5. An unlawful or otherwise improper use of funds or resources of a public body, or of other public money;

6. An act or omission by or on behalf of a public body that is oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement; or

7. Cases where information tending to show any matter falling within any of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being, or is likely to be concealed or destroyed.

A worker must make a disclosure in the manner set out in the Act to be entitled to the protections of the Act. Different standards apply depending on the person or body to whom the worker discloses. A disclosure may be made to an employer, or another person or entity as set out under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, should the relevant criteria be fulfilled.

I have instructed officials in the Department of Health to write directly to the individual in question to clarify exactly what his rights are under this legislation and to advise the individual accordingly. Provided the disclosure meets the criteria as set out under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, the individual in question may make a disclosure to the Department of Health, the HSE, a prescribed person under the Act, or another recognised person under the Act.