Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (17)

Catherine Murphy


17. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the safeguards in place to protect the identity of the person who has made the protected disclosure in instances in which protected disclosures are shared with external consultants; if the person that made the protected disclosure is notified in advance; if their consent is required to share the disclosure with external consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36202/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) have put in place a national Framework for services related to the receipt and investigation of Protected Disclosures. My Department has recently signed a contract with Mazars arising from a tender competition under this Framework. The Framework arrangement and contract clearly set out and provide for the protections provided to persons under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.  This includes a comprehensive confidentiality clause. This is in line with Section 16 (1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 which provides that:

" a person to whom a protected disclosure is made, and any person to whom a protected disclosure is referred in the performance of that person’s duties, shall not disclose to another person any information that might identify the person by whom the protected disclosure was made". 

Section 16 (2) (c) (i) of the Act states that information that may identify the person making the protected disclosure may be disclosed if this is reasonably necessary in order to conduct the investigation. Section 16 (2) (c) (i) states that Section 16 (1) does not apply if "the person to whom the protected disclosure was made or referred reasonably believes that disclosing any such information is necessary for the effective investigation of the relevant wrongdoing concerned." 

However, in general the practice in the Department of Defence is that the discloser would be made aware of the investigation save in exceptional circumstances.