Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007

7.

Insertion into Principal Act of new sections 24A to 24C.

7.— The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following sections after section 24:

“Protection of whistleblowers.

24A.— (1) A person who makes an appropriate disclosure of information to the Commission about the conduct of an undertaking, an associate of an undertaking or an association of undertakings incurs no civil or criminal liability for having done so.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), a person makes an appropriate disclosure of information about the conduct of an undertaking, or an associate of an undertaking or an association of undertakings only if—

( a) the conduct relates to the provision of an electronic communications network or service or an associated facility, and

( b) the person—

(i) believes on reasonable grounds that the information is true, or

(ii) not being able to form a belief on reasonable grounds about the truth of the information, believes on reasonable grounds that the information may be true and to be of sufficient significance to justify its disclosure with a view to enabling its truth to be investigated by the Commission or by a law enforcement authority that has a legitimate interest in receiving the information (such as the Garda Síochána).

(3) The Commission may not divulge the identity of a person who has made an appropriate disclosure to it without first obtaining the person’s consent, except in so far as it may be necessary to ensure proper investigation of the matters to which the disclosure relates. This subsection applies despite any other enactment or rule of common law to the contrary.

(4) If a person has made an appropriate disclosure to the Commission, the Commission shall, so far as practicable and in accordance with the law, notify the person of the outcome of any investigation into the matters to which the disclosure relates.

(5) The Commission may decline to accept or deal with a disclosure of information made to it by a person about the conduct of an undertaking, an associate of an undertaking or an association of undertakings if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the information is false or misleading or that the disclosure is frivolous or vexatious.

Tortious liability of undertaking or associate for victimising whistleblower.

24B.— (1) If an undertaking, an associate of an undertaking or an association of undertakings causes detriment to a person because the person or a third person has made, or threatened to make, an appropriate disclosure of information to the Commission or a law enforcement authority (such as the Garda Síochána) either about the conduct of the undertaking or about the conduct of the associate or association, the person has a right of action in tort against the undertaking, associate or association.

(2) In this section, ‘detriment’ includes—

( a) injury, damage or loss, or

( b) intimidation or harassment, or

( c) discrimination, disadvantage or adverse treatment in relation to a person’s employment, or

( d) a threat of reprisal.

Offence to make false disclosure.

24C.— A person who makes a disclosure of information about the conduct of an undertaking, an associate of an undertaking or an association of undertakings, knowing the information to be false or misleading commits an offence and is liable—

( a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €50,000, or

( b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000.”.