Punishing whistleblowers: where does it end?

NIALL GINTY (Letters, January 23) accuses me of “dressing up” the facts in relation to leaks of confidential information.

My intervention was intended to broaden the debate from the specific issue to the general principles of who has a right to know what.

Should powerful politicians be allowed to control all the information and to exclude the rest of us from knowing the bits that are inconvenient to themselves?

If we are to accept Mr Ginty’s argument for sacking a person guilty of “leaking ANY individual’s private and personal correspondence with the revenue commissioners”, why should we confine it merely to correspondence with the revenue? Should we not also include all confidential information?

Why should we confine it just to public servants? Should not all politicians also have to abide by the rule? As he rightly points out, “we are all entitled to the privacy afforded by the State”. We know from experience, however, that people who have been a thorn in the side of powerful politicians have had confidential information leaked which was damaging to their reputation without any sanction being applied to the politician.

What’s sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

Anthony Leavy

1 Shielmartin Drive

Sutton

Dublin 13

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