Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2222)

Catherine Murphy


2222. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of protected disclosures for which he has engaged an external consultancy and or legal firm since 2014 to date; the name of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy and or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32394/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department has engaged the services of Byrne Wallace to provide legal expertise to facilitate the effective investigation of three Protected Disclosures received in my Department. Legal advice was provided to the Department between February 2017 to date. The cumulative cost to my Department for this service is €23,437.65 inclusive of VAT.

The premise of the Protected Disclosure Act 2014 is to protect the identity of the Discloser insofar as is possible. My Department strives to protect the identity of the Discloser at all times. On occasion, in order for an effective investigation to take place, it may be necessary to release the Discloser’s identity. In this case the Discloser would be advised in advance.

Consultations with Byrne Wallace on each Protected Disclosure are subject to legal privilege.