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Question

423. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the training for INIS and GNIB officials that deals specifically with racial profiling; if training is provided as to the way in which to deal with and treat foreign nationals with respect; and the way in which persons that have negative experiences based on racial profiling or inappropriate comments can make a complaint or seek redress. [54369/18]

424. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if disclosures have been made to his Department under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 by serving, past or retired prison officers or prison personnel in the Irish Prison Service in each of the years 2015 to 2018; the number of cases in each year; and the status of each case that was submitted. [54372/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 took effect from 15 th July 2014. It provides comprehensive protections for workers in both the public and private sectors against penalisation by their employers in circumstances where they have raised concerns about potential wrongdoing. A protected disclosure, in the 2014 Act, is a disclosure of information which, in the reasonable belief of the worker, tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings; came to the attention of the worker in connection with the worker’s employment; and is disclosed in the manner prescribed in the Act.
The Deputy will be aware that a discloser need not refer to the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 in making a protected disclosure. Furthermore, some correspondence which purports to be a protected disclosure does not fall under the terms of the 2014 Act as described above. This may be because it does not disclose relevant wrongdoings as described in the Act, or because the complainant is not an worker as required under the Act.
Both my Department, and the Irish Prisons Service have comprehensive Protected Disclosures Policies in place.
The following table details the treatment of potential protected disclosures in the years 2015-2018 made to my Department. It describes the status of those disclosures which were determined to be protected disclosures within the meaning of the 2014 Act, following assessment or review. Information concerning Protected Disclosures is available in Annual Reports under the 2014 Act published by my Department on its website.
In addition to the following table, I am informed that a further 4 protected disclosures were received directly by the Irish Prison Service during the period in question.

Year Correspondence relating to the Irish Prison Service assessed as Potential Protected Disclosure Status
2015 1 anonymous disclosure received. Closed following investigation.
2016 7 disclosures received, of which 5 deemed not to be Protected Disclosures. Five of the disclosures were assessed and closed as they did not meet the requirements of the Protected Disclosures Act. Of the two remaining disclosures: One disclosure was externally reviewed and found to be a protected disclosure by the reviewer. The case is subject to ongoing legal proceedings. The Department has engaged a legal firm to investigate subsequent allegations of penalisation. In the other case, one element of the disclosure was upheld and recommendations were made to the Irish Prison Service.
2017 6, of which 4 deemed not to be Protected Disclosures. Four of the disclosures were assessed and closed as they did not meet the requirements of the Protected Disclosures Act. Of the two remaining disclosures, one was investigated but not upheld due to lack of evidence the disclosure was anonymous resulting in inability to obtain further information. In the other case, an external investigation was carried out and a report produced. The findings of the investigation are under consideration.
2018 11, of which 2 deemed not to be a Protected Disclosures. Two of the disclosures were assessed and closed as not meeting the requirements of the Protected Disclosures Act.

Four of the disclosures have been assessed and found to be Protected Disclosures. Independent investigations will commence in 2019. The remaining five disclosures are being assessed.