Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach
General Scheme of the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2021: Discussion
Mr. Philip Brennan:
I will come in on that. The new legislation for the first time provides that feedback must be given to the discloser. That was probably a defect in the old legislation. Oftentimes when a discloser came forward with something they heard nothing further. It went into a black hole as far as they were concerned. Often they did not know if anything was being done, if something was being done or what the situation was. In our firm, where we mediate between disclosers and employers, one of the things we have done from the start is to provide a two-weekly feedback.
It may just be to state there is nothing to say because we are dependent on whoever is actually looking at the thing and it is possible nothing is happening, but it is very important. It can be a very lonely place for someone who has plucked up the courage to make a disclosure to be on their own. One of the welcome provisions of the new legislation is the requirement that is in it. What is fed back in that process may be limited because other people are perhaps being investigated whose rights also have to be protected, but at least now there is a channel of feedback to the discloser.