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Bill should include obligation to act on information provided by whistleblowers – McDonald

25 October, 2011 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Central Bank (Supervision & Enforcement) Bill, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD welcomed the protection of whistleblowers within the legislation but noted concern about the absence of any compulsion on the Central Bank to act on information provided.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Whistleblowers provide a vital function in exposing breaches not only of law but of good practice in public and corporate life. We need to ensure the fullest protection for those brave men and women who are willing to expose bad practice.

“I am pleased that the Bill protects whistleblowers from civil liability and victimisation. I am also pleased that this protection extends not only to employers who are implicated in the detail of information provided, but also those outside the employer/employee relationship.

“The Bill also goes even further, providing a mandatory regime for those with senior or important functions within financial service providers. There should always be a compulsion to disclose any information relating to breaches of law or good practice, particularly for those holding senior management positions.

“One concern I do have is the absence of any compulsion on the Central Bank to act on information provided by whistleblowers.

“While I understand that it is not possible to act on any individual piece of information provided, the experience of many whistleblowers under the previous regulatory regime suggests that some form of obligation to act should be inserted into the Bill.”

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