Former Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe is backing a fundraising appeal mounted by Transparency International (TI) Ireland this week to raise €50,000 to fund free legal advice for whistleblowers this year.
The organisation, which helps individuals to raise issues of concern or wrongdoing, is seeking public support for its partner advice centre, the Transparency Legal Advice Centre (TLAC).
Mr McCabe, a former Garda Sergeant, is among almost 1,500 people to receive free advice and support from the Irish arm of the international organisation when he exposed systemic abuse of the Garda traffic database from 2012 to 2015.
Mr McCabe, who has since been appointed patron of TI Ireland, said the support he received was “absolutely essential” in helping him to make informed decisions and get through the ordeal.
“I’m lucky that I got through my experience but there are many whistleblowers who will struggle without support. Many need legal advice as soon as possible – especially before they report - but often can’t afford it,” he said, urging the public to support the appeal.
Chief Executive of TI Ireland John Devitt, said the organisation had seen a “spike in calls” since the Covid-19 outbreak and that individuals were exposing concerns ranging from fraud to serious risks to children and vulnerable adults or unsafe working environments.
“We want people to know that support is available if they need to speak up about wrongdoing, ethical misconduct or risks to public health or safety during the Covid-19 pandemic,’ Mr Devitt said.
TI Ireland has also launched a new secure reporting channel. The TI Ireland Speak Up Helpline can be contacted on 1800 844 866, Monday to Friday, 10am - 6pm or online at www.speakup.ie. Donations can be made at www.transparency.ie/donate.