Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the internal audit unit of his Department did not investigate a protected disclosure (details supplied) but instead referred it back to the Irish Prison Service in contravention of the protected disclosures policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9166/18]
113. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is satisfied that he has fulfilled his obligations in terms of addressing the concerns of a person (detail supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9167/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 and 113 together.
The case to which the Deputy refers was dealt with in accordance with the Prison Service Protected Disclosure policy in place, including an external review, on foot of which various actions were taken.
Subsequent to this, the Officer in question took proceedings in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The Commission will make its determination on the matters raised in due course. I am conscious of the proceedings currently taking place and that the WRC should be allowed the necessary time to make an independent determination on the matter.
Insofar as the correspondence of September 2017 is concerned, the Prison Service Protected Disclosures recipient (Head of the Department’s Internal Audit Unit) informed the Officer that it was open to him to have the matters raised in his correspondence considered alongside the concerns now before the Workplace Relations Commission. The Protected Disclosures recipient sought and received permission from the Officer to communicate the concerns raised in the correspondence to the Director General of the Prison Service, noting in that correspondence the importance of ensuring that workers who make protected disclosures are not penalised in any manner.
The Officer chose not to bring the issues raised in correspondence of September 2017 before the WRC. Subsequently, and on the direction of the Protected Disclosures recipient, my Department has engaged an independent external legal firm to independently examine the complaints set out in the letter of September 2017. The Officer has been informed that this process is underway.