The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has published a draft General Scheme of a proposed Protected Disclosure in the Public Interest Bill.
The Minister indicated that the proposed legislation would ..."protect Whistleblowers who speak out against wrongdoing, or cover-ups, whether in public or the private sector. This could encompass, for example, criminal misconduct, corruption, the breach of a legal obligation, risk to health and safety, damage to the environment or gross mismanagement in the public service. "
The purpose of the legislation would be to ensure the protection of workers in all sectors of the economy against reprisals in circumstances where they make a disclosure of information relating to wrong-doing which comes to their attention in the workplace. The proposed legislation would provide for a stepped disclosure regime in which a number of distinct disclosure channels would be available – internal, regulatory and external. The provisions are largely modelled on the UK Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 with elements of the New Zealand Protected Disclosure Act 2000.