Speaking in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson Mary Lou McDonald TD welcomed the introduction of Whistleblower legislation and called on Brendan Howlin to ensure there is adequate capacity in the system to pursue and prosecute corruption cases in a timely manner.
The Dublin Central TD said:
“The irony of the Minister presenting the Protected Disclosures Bill at this time will not be lost on many in light of recent events at the PAC.
“Last week government Ministers cynically used the media to question the motivation of opposition members of the committee, undermining the work of the PAC and arguably the Whistleblower himself.
“Sinn Féin welcomes the introduction of the Protected Disclosures legislation.
“This week when publishing its first report on corruption in member states the European Commission noted that more work needs to be done in Ireland to improve the capacity to prosecute and punish corruption cases in a timely manner.
“Whilst a number of issues affect the potential efficiency of anti-corruption agencies there is no doubt that adequate and appropriate resourcing of such agencies is key.
“Research produced by Dr Elaine Byrne has shown that even where significant cases of illegality have been identified prosecutions can be non-existent.
“The Commission’s report identifies access to databases and intelligence, and provision of necessary resources and skills as factors affecting the success of anti-corruption agencies across Europe.
“Brendan Howlin must ensure that the necessary supports, resources and training are provided to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the Whistleblower legislation.
“Provision for interim relief orders has been now included by and I commend the work of the trade union movement in pursuing this important protection for workers who bravely expose wrong doing.
“Transparency International Ireland has suggested a number of amendments to the legislation which if accepted by Labour and Fine Gael will greatly enhance future protections for Whistleblowers.”