Minister Expected to Raise Sacked Whistleblowers’ Case with Central Bank Governor Today – Doherty
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is expected to raise the case of former employees of Money Leander Provident Personal Credit when he meets with the Central Bank Governor later today.
Minister Noonan agreed to discuss the issue with Patrick Honohan after a request by Donegal South West TD Deputy Pearse Doherty yesterday in which the Sinn Féin Deputy urged the Minister to take action after workers who blew the whistle on the firm’s illegal lending practices had their contracts with the company terminated.
Deputy Doherty, along with fellow Sinn Féin TD Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, met with the whistleblowers prior to the exposé last December which saw the company fined by the Central Bank, said that the situation sends out ‘a very bad signal’ to all those who work in financial services.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Last year, Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and I sat down with five Whistleblowers from Provident Personal Credit after they became increasingly concerned with the on-going reckless and illegal lending practices at the firm.”
“These workers willingly handed us over information that backed up these serious allegations which we then provided to the Central Bank which – after an investigation – found the company guilty of what it termed ‘consumer protection failures to money lending loans’ and fined €105,000.”
“However, following the Central Bank’s ruling last December, these very same five Whistleblowers, who bravely came forward to expose these crimes, each had their contracts with the Lender terminated.”
“This situation is grossly unfair and – if left unaddressed – will ultimately send out a very bad signal to other whistleblowers in the sector and will discourage them from coming forward.”
“It was for this reason that yesterday I asked that the Minister bring this situation to the attention of the Central Bank as this is clearly an unacceptable and deplorable breach of whistleblower guidelines.”
“I asked the Minister to investigate if the termination of the contracts of these five Whistleblowers was connected to the fact that they blew the whistle on the company in the first instance, or was he just simply going to stand by and allow the bank to deal with it itself: something which would stand to seriously undermine the concept of the legal protection afforded to Whistleblowers.”
“Accordingly, the Minister conceded to bring my concerns to the attention of the Governor of the Central Bank when the two are expected to meet later today.”
“While this development is to be welcomed, we now need a strong commitment from the Minister that he will not let this injustice go unchallenged.”
“Also, last week Deputy Mac Lochlainn and I wrote to the Director of Enforcement of the Central Bank of Ireland in which we stressed to her the importance of having this matter thoroughly investigated.”
“Let’s be clear, anyone who is courageous and selfless enough to take a stand and expose any wrong being committed and who is proven to be correct and telling the truth, should not only be commended for their action but also must be given the reassurance that they will not suffer personally as a direct consequence of their bravery.”