An Garda Síochána asked to improve protected disclosures policy

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

An Garda Síochána has been asked to revise parts of its protected disclosures policy to meet the requirements of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald asked the Policing Authority to review Garda policy and procedures following the final report of the O’Higgins commission.

An Garda Síochána has already agreed to remove parts of the policy providing that disciplinary action may be taken against workers who “have raised a concern or raised a disclosure with malicious intent”, as section 5(7) of the 2014 Act provides: “The motivation for making a disclosure is irrelevant to whether it is a protected disclosure.”

The review also found that the description of options for external reporting is incomplete, and the policy incorrectly requires workers to make disclosures to a protected disclosure manager.

Welcoming the Policing Authority’s final report, Ms Fitzgerald said: “It is clear from this report that there has been considerable interaction between the Authority and the Garda Síochána in relation to this exercise and that many of the recommendations have already been accepted, with a follow-up process being put in place to ensure that any outstanding issues are addressed.

“Today’s report is independent oversight in action and I want to put on record my appreciation of the work done by the Policing Authority in relation to the Garda Síochána Protected Disclosures Policy.

“But policy is only part of the approach to whistleblowing. Changes to culture and attitudes, and acceptance of those changes are also crucial. That is how trust in An Garda Síochána will be maintained and safeguarded. Therefore I am pleased the Authority has now asked the Garda Síochána to review the operation of the Policy in light of this report and I look forward to the outcome of that process.”

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