Whistleblower’s website will empower public to report corruption and abuse

IRELAND is set to get its own Wikileaks-style website where people will be able to report issues of abuse and of public concern.

Final preparations for the whistleblowers’ facility have involved consultation with the Gardaí, the Competition Authority as well as the Standards in Public Office Commission.

Transparency International Ireland is launching the initiative along with a whistleblowers’ hotline, explained the group’s chief executive John Devitt.

“We are finishing consulting with gardaí before we do this to try and see can we protect people who report to us, that they don’t breach confidentiality clauses with their workplace or fall foul of the Official Secrets Acts.

Unlike the infamous Wikileaks, the reporting facility will not primarily focus on leaking confidential material into the public domain.

Instead, the site, along with the planned hotline, is intended to empower people and organisations with information and support they need to safely report issues of public concern, make government more open, and promote integrity across all sectors of Irish society, said Mr Devitt.

But it will collect and publish statistical data from complaints and reports received.

Transparency International say it may also report concerns to employers and authorities on behalf of employees.

Mr Devitt added: “The goal is to provide a safe environment for people to come to us with their concerns, whether that’s an ethical dilemma or evidence of wrongdoing, and to enable people to report those concerns responsibly to those who can take action. We’ll also use the data we gather to identify problem areas for government or the private sector to address.”

The whistleblowers’ facility is expected to be active next month. Mr Devitt said: “We’re also looking at how we can work with law enforcement or regulatory agencies to ensure that reports go to the right people and are followed up.”

The group’s free helpline will also offer confidential information to people who wish to honestly report concerns regarding abuse of power — such as corruption — or harm to others in the workplace, including in areas of fraud, waste or negligence. A free referral service will be provided to a panel of solicitors for individuals in need of legal advice and representation.

* www.transparency.ie.

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