The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 commenced in July 2014. The objective of the legislation is to help encourage workers to report wrongdoing by providing protection against penalisation. It was updated by the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022, which came into effect from 1st January 2023. The 2022 Act also transposes the EU Whistleblowing Directive into Irish law.
Under the Act a worker can make a disclosure on a matter where they believe there is a wrongdoing in the workplace (defined under the Act). In such circumstances the Act afford protections for the worker against penalisation due to making the disclosure.
The Act is not a replacement for existing mandatory reporting regimes and it is not a replacement for existing grievance mechanisms. It is intended to deal with matters of public interest and not intended for reporting of matters of private interest.
Under the Act there is a requirement to have in place (1) Procedures for Internal Reporting relation to a protected disclosure, and (2) Procedures for External Reporting in relation to a protected disclosure to a Prescribed Person as set out by Ministerial Order.
"Protected disclosure" means the disclosure of relevant information, which in the reasonable belief of the worker tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings and came to the attention of the worker in connection with their employment.
'Worker' includes employees, contractors, consultants, agency staff, former employees, temporary employees, and interns/trainees.
"Relevant wrongdoings" are defined in an exhaustive list and include the following:
- - that an offence has been, is being or is likely to be committed,
- - that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation, other than one arising under the worker's contract of employment or other contract whereby the worker undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services,
- - that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
- - that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,
- - that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged,
- - that an unlawful or otherwise improper use of funds or resources of a public body, or of other public money, has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,
- - that an act or omission by or on behalf of a public body is oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement, or
- - that information tending to show any matter falling within any of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be concealed or destroyed.
Kilkenny County Council Protected Disclosures Policy
Kilkenny County Council is committed to ensuring that the culture and work environment are such that any employee/worker is encouraged and supported to report on any issue that may impact adversely on Kilkenny County Council's ability to deliver a high quality service and in this regard has introduced and implemented policy procedures for the making of protected disclosures.
The purpose of the policy and procedure is:
- To encourage employees/workers to report internally any concerns, as soon as possible, they may have regarding potential wrongdoing in the workplace, in the knowledge that their concerns will be taken seriously and investigated, where appropriate, and that their confidentiality will be respected, in the manner provided by the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014.
- To highlight that it is always appropriate to raise such concerns when they are based on a reasonable belief irrespective of whether any wrongdoing is in fact subsequently identified
- To provide employees/workers with guidance on how to raise concerns
- To reassure employees/workers that they can report relevant wrongdoings without fear of penalisation.
Audit Committee Protocol for dealing with receipt of disclosures about financial reporting or other financial matters
In accordance with the Local Government (Audit Committee) Regulations, 2014, which requires the Kilkenny County Council Audit Committee to ensure that procedures are in place whereby employees of the Council may, in confidence, raise concerns about possible irregularities in financial reporting or other financial matters, the Kilkenny County Council Protocol for dealing with receipt of disclosures about Financial Reporting or other Financial Matters under the Local Government (Audit Committee) Regulations, 2014 and in accordance with the Protected Disclosures, Act, 2014 has been implemented.
Internal Reporting Channel
The Council has put in place an internal channel and procedures for the making of reports and for follow up of such reports and has appointed the following person(s) to receive Internal Protected Disclosures in accordance with the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014 / Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022. The contact details for the Designated Officer (designated to receive disclosures in the Council) is as follows;
Tim Butler, Director of Services, County Hall, John Street, Kilkenny
Phone: 056 7794070
Section 7(2A) of the Act provides that prescribed persons e.g., Chief Executive Kilkenny County Council and the Protected Disclosures Commissioner must establish, maintain and operate independent and autonomous external reporting channels and procedures for receiving and handling reports made to them by workers in the areas they are responsible for supervising or regulating. These external reporting channels are separate from and in addition to the internal reporting channels.
External Reporting Channel
The Council has put in place an external reporting channel and procedures for the making of reports and for follow up of such reports and has appointed a Designated Officer to investigate the disclosure.
The Prescribed person is:
Sean McKeown Acting Chief Executive,
Kilkenny County Council County Hall,
Phone: 056 7794070
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclosures can also be made to the Chairperson of the Audit Committee. The Chairperson is the sole designated member of the Audit Committee to whom employees can make a disclosure. The Chairperson can be contacted by
Post: Audit Committee Chairperson, c/o Internal Audit, Kilkenny County Council, County Hall, John Street, Kilkenny.
The Chairperson should then refer the disclosure to the Designated Officer (see Audit Committee Protocol for Protected Disclosures).
For Further Information:
Annual Reports on Number of Protected Disclosures received for 12 month period.
Protected Disclosure Annual Report Period Ended 31st December, 2022 (.pdf document).
The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (.pdf document)
The Protected Disclosures (Amendment)Act 2022 (.pdf document)
Protected Disclosures Policy and Procedures (.pdf document)
Standard Form for making a Protected Disclosure (word document)