Tusla whistleblower distressed after his complaint

Whistleblower believed he was on paid leave after making report

Tusla whistleblower distressed after his complaint

A Tusla whistleblower was left “extremely distressed” when he discovered his employment with the child and family agency had been terminated. This was after he had been led to believe he was going on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his claims.

Correspondence seen by the Irish Examiner reveals how an independent third party who recommended that the whistleblower’s allegations warranted an investigation, later wrote to Tusla to express his concern for the whistleblower’s welfare amid financial pressure he was suffering.

The whistleblower was a clerical officer who had raised concerns about procurement issues within Tusla, and claimed to be the victim of intimidation as a result. He submitted his resignation to Tusla last January, and had cited work- related stress as his reason for quitting. He also made a protected disclosure to the independent third party that month.

However, in February, a senior Tusla official wrote to the whistleblower to tell him the agency’s director of quality assurance “has recommended to the director of HR [human resources] that you remain on payroll pending the outcome of this investigation”.

Despite this, in March, the third party who assessed the allegations wrote to this Tusla official about his concerns for the whistleblower, and summarised their phone conversations about the man.

“I rang you because I received a phone call from [the whistleblower] this morning,” the third party wrote in his correspondence with Tusla.

“I advised you that [he] was extremely distressed and that I was concerned for his welfare.”

The third party wrote:

  • The whistleblower had no source of income since leaving Tusla, and mounting bills “which is a source of great personal distress to him”;
  •  Attempts to claim welfare payments were unsuccessful as records showed he was still a Tusla employee;
  • “He is in employment/ welfare limbo and feels he has nowhere to turn, that he is on his knees.”;
  • He was unclear as to whether Tusla still regard him as an employee or not.
  • The correspondence shows how the Tusla official told the third party on the phone they would consult HR and revert, and how they called back to say “as far as Tusla HR are concerned, [the whistleblower]’s resignation has been accepted effective from 22 January”.

    Tusla has not explained why human resources did not follow the recommendation that the whistleblower be put on paid leave, or why the decision to disregard this recommendation was not communicated to the whistleblower.

    Meanwhile, a 28-page memo prepared by the third party based on the whistleblower’s disclosure has also been seen by this newspaper.

    Among the allegations made to Tusla quality assurance via the disclosure are claims that:

  • When the whistleblower sought training on how to compile cash lodgement documents he was just told to copy previous examples;
  • Staff were given a Tusla bank card to withdraw cash to dispense to clients as required, with no onsite clerical managerial oversight.
  • The whistleblower said he witnessed this practice, and did not carry out this task himself, but was concerned that it was placing a level of responsibility on staff that was above their grade.

    A Tulsa spokesperson told the Irish Examiner that a full investigation into the whistleblower’s claims is being completed.

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