35. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is satisfied that the system regarding protected disclosures within An Garda Síochána is functioning properly, if he has had contact with the new Garda Commissioner on this issue since their appointment and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4387/19]
Deputy Charles Flanagan: Under the 2014 Act referred to by the Deputy, members of An Garda Síochána may communicate their concerns to the Garda Commissioner, as their employer if they so choose, or make a disclosure to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, which is statutorily independent in the conduct of its investigations. The legislation also allows that an individual employed by a public body may also make a protected disclosure to the Minister with responsibility for that body. In the case of An Garda Síochána, that is the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The Garda Síochána has published a protected disclosures policy and all Garda members and civilians have been informed of this policy. A protected disclosures manager was appointed. An Garda Síochána works with Transparency International Ireland, TII, and other external providers to create an environment to ensure that whistleblowers are properly protected and supported. TII's Integrity at Work pledge was signed by the Garda Commissioner in 2017. The Garda Síochána code of ethics includes strong commitments for each individual member with regard to "speaking up and reporting wrongdoing".
The Deputy is aware that, in 2016, the then Minister requested the Policing Authority to examine and report on the policies and procedures in place in the Garda to deal with whistleblowers and whistleblowing. The authority was also asked to make any recommendation that it considered appropriate in order to ensure that the policies and procedures in place were appropriate and could provide assurance to whistleblowers that they could make complaints or allegations in a safe environment where they would be properly investigated.