78. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she believes that the present arrangements for investigations into Garda Síochána whistleblowing allegations are sufficiently robust, given the current ongoing cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42388/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): It is assumed that the cases referred to are the same cases that were raised in Parliamentary Questions on 20 October and 26 May, 2015. I would again make the point that all of us in this House must be very careful in discussing individual cases of whistleblowing. Protection for whistleblowers rightly prioritises the confidentiality of the process, which is central to the efficacy of the process.
Prior to the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 coming into operation, whistleblowing by members of the Garda Síochána was provided for under the Garda Síochána (Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice) Regulations 2007, which provided for the appointment of an independent Confidential Recipient to whom Garda members, and civilian support staff, could report, in full confidence, instances where they believed there may have been corruption or malpractice within the Garda Síochána.
This system was replaced by the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, which came into operation on 15 July 2014 as part of this Government's comprehensive approach to enhance the protection available to whistle blowers, including Garda whistleblowers. GSOC was prescribed under the Act as a body to receive protected disclosures on Garda matters. Under the Act, members of the Garda Síochána may now communicate their concerns to the Garda Commissioner, as their employer, or to GSOC as a prescribed body, and are entitled to the protections provided by the Act.
I am satisfied that the legislative provisions now in place under the 2014 Act, including the protections afforded for whistleblowers, will prove to be an effective remedy for Garda members who wish to report their concerns regarding potential wrongdoing.
As I have previously advised House in relation to these particular cases, I have no function in relation to criminal investigations and the submission of files to the DPP, or in relation to the investigation of complaints by GSOC.