November 9, 2021
Concerns in Irish Coast Guard highlight the need for volunteers to be allowed to make Protected Disclosure – Mairéad Farrell TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Mairéad Farrell TD, has said the current unrest in the Irish Coast Guard, which follows in the wake of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (C&AG) report into the mismanagement of public funds, and criticism of the Coastguard management structure by volunteers, highlights the need to extend the Protected Disclosures regime to include volunteer organisations, and afford volunteers the same protections as public sector and private sector workers.

Teachta Farrell said:

“I am very concerned about what has gone on recently in the Irish Coast Guard. We have seen huge wastage of public money on the purchase of vehicles which weren’t fit for purpose, and an absence of consultation with the volunteers who were expected to man these vehicles.

“We have seen criticism by volunteers who have said they have faced disciplinary action and dismissal for raising health and safety concerns.

“This happens all too often when people try to raise concerns in the public interest, and then pay a very heavy price as a result. We need to afford volunteers the same access to the Protected Disclosures regime that public sector and private sector workers have.

“That is precisely why myself and Deputy Pat Buckley’s new Protected Disclosures (amendment) bill extends these protections to those working in volunteer organisations. It would allow volunteers to blow the whistle and extend the protections to them from the penalisation that often results from revealing wrongdoing.”

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