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
Ms Julie Grace:
I listened to Deputy Durkan's comments. There are some great politicians and we do not expect unachievable results from them. My point is that we must lead by example in this country. With respect, how many members of the committee believe truth tellers, or whistleblowers by another name and who are honest workers, should be sitting here today penalised for doing the right thing for this State?
Each of the three of us has worked as a public official. My sin was to refuse to steal from the public purse and abuse the position that I had to abuse legal services. The other two gentlemen told their own story. Does the committee believe this is acceptable and that there is a new category of people called whistleblowers? We know who we are: we stood up for truth and honesty and served the State. Should we be put into a special category of limbo, like in the old catechism? Is that where we should be or are we entitled to our rights? What are we waiting for? Why can the current mechanism, flawed and all as it is, not be used? The officials dealing with it have gone around the houses to do everything to frustrate and deny us what we are entitled to. That was told very succinctly here today.
With all due respect to everybody on the committee, a talking shop is a talking shop, but we are looking for action. None of us has time on our side. People have commitments. I am an old woman. It is a shame. I submitted the documents that show the chronology of my application, and the failure of the Act, but it goes to show how one can be sent around the houses for five years with no resolution. It is there, but we are told to wait. The Minister who wrote to me said I was to wait. Parliamentary questions are marvellous, but members should please know for definite if they are getting the correct answer. I have had questions raised on my behalf and the incorrect answer was given. I thank members very much for allowing me to say that.