Ireland: The "Whistle-Blowers" Regime In Ireland

Last Updated: 17 February 2015
Article by John Doyle

Far-reaching "whistle-blower" protections came into operation on 15 July 2014 under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 ("the Act") which protects employees from being penalised if they make a disclosure of information in the public interest.

The Act refers to a "worker" which covers a wider range of persons than those who might commonly be regarded as employees.

"Relevant Information"

A worker will be protected if they disclose "relevant information" in the reasonable belief that it shows "relevant wrongdoings" (the commission of an offence, failure to comply with a legal obligation, miscarriage of justice, endangerment of health and safety, damage to the environment, unlawful or improper use of public funds or resources, oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent act of a public body) and if the information came to their attention in connection with their employment. Of particular interest and potentially controversial, is that the Act provides that the protection will apply to disclosures made either before or after the passing of the Act.

The place in which the wrong may be done, even outside the State, is not material.

A matter is not a "relevant wrongdoing" if it is something the worker is employed to detect, investigate or prosecute and is not an act or omission on the part of the employer. A disclosure of information to which professional legal privilege may attach is not protected if made by a person to whom the information was disclosed in the course of obtaining legal advice (from a range of people including lawyers and trade union officials). The motivation of the person disclosing the information is irrelevant. There is a rebuttable presumption that a disclosure is protected.

Making a Disclosure

A disclosure is made to an employer if made to the worker's employer or where the worker reasonably believes that the wrongdoing relates to the conduct of someone other than the employer or to something for which someone other than the employer is legally responsible, to that person.

Where a worker uses a procedure authorised by his employer and discloses to someone other than the employer, he will be treated as having disclosed to the employer.

The Minister has appointed some seventy two prescribed person to receive certain protected disclosures related to the sectors in which they operate..

A protected disclosure may be made outside the usual channels if the worker reasonably believes that the information disclosed is substantially true, the disclosure is not for personal gain (excluding any statutory reward), if it is reasonable for the worker to make the disclosure and when making the disclosure the worker reasonably believes that either they will be penalised if they use other channels of disclosure or, where there is no prescribed person, that evidence might be concealed or destroyed if disclosure is made to their employer or other responsible person, or where the worker has previously used the other channels of disclosure or where the wrongdoing is exceptionally serious.

Penalties for Employers

Of particular interest to employers is the fact that the Act amends the Unfair Dismissals Acts by deeming a dismissal to be unfair if it results wholly or mainly from the employee having made a protected disclosure and in addition, the Act increases the potential compensation significantly from the usual 104 weeks to 260 weeks. There is provision for a 25% reduction in what the compensation might otherwise have been if the investigation of the wrongdoing was not the employee's sole or main motivation in making the disclosure.

Circuit Court Procedure

The Act introduces a scheme for interim relief to be granted by the Circuit Court where an unfair dismissals claim is brought arising from a protected disclosure.

Where it appears to the Court that there are likely to be substantial grounds supporting the employee's claim, then the Court will ask the employer whether it is willing to reinstate or re-engage the employee pending determination of the claim. If the employer is willing to reinstate the employee then the Court will make an order to that effect. If the employer is willing to re-engage the employee then the Court will ask the employee whether they are willing to accept the position on the terms offered and if so, the Court will make an order to that effect. If the employee does not accept the re-engagement offer and if the Court considers the refusal to be reasonable or if the employer does not attend the Court hearing, then the Court must make an order for the continuation of the employee's contract of employment. Otherwise the Court must make no order.

The Court has power to make Orders requiring the employer to make payments to the employee pending the determination of the claim.

The Act contains provisions regarding redress which will be available to affected employees where the Unfair Dismissals Acts do not apply to them. Generally, a complaint must be made within six months or, in exceptional circumstances, up to 12 months from the date of the contravention.


It remains to be seen what affect the Act will have and how often it is relied on by employees but where the Act is invoked, the stakes are raised considerably and employers face potentially serious consequences. In particular, the potential for retrospective effect and dramatically increased levels of compensation make this an area to watch.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions