Protected Disclosures Act 2014


Protected disclosures

5. (1) For the purposes of this Act “protected disclosure” means, subject to F1 [ subsections (6) and (7A) ] and sections 17 and 18 , a disclosure of relevant information (whether before or after the date of the passing of this Act) made by a worker in the manner specified in section 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 or 10 .

(2) For the purposes of this Act information is “relevant information” if—

(a) in the reasonable belief of the worker, it tends to show one or more relevant wrongdoings, and

(b) it came to the attention of the worker in connection with the worker’s employment.

(3) The following matters are relevant wrongdoings for the purposes of this Act—

(a) that an offence has been, is being or is likely to be committed,

(b) that a person has failed, is failing or is likely to fail to comply with any legal obligation, other than one arising under the worker’s contract of employment or other contract whereby the worker undertakes to do or perform personally any work or services,

(c) that a miscarriage of justice has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,

(d) that the health or safety of any individual has been, is being or is likely to be endangered,

(e) that the environment has been, is being or is likely to be damaged,

(f) that an unlawful or otherwise improper use of funds or resources of a public body, or of other public money, has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur,

(g) that an act or omission by or on behalf of a public body is oppressive, discriminatory or grossly negligent or constitutes gross mismanagement, or

(h) that information tending to show any matter falling within any of the preceding paragraphs has been, is being or is likely to be concealed or destroyed.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) it is immaterial whether a relevant wrongdoing occurred, occurs or would occur in the State or elsewhere and whether the law applying to it is that of the State or that of any other country or territory.

(5) A matter is not a relevant wrongdoing if it is a matter which it is the function of the worker or the worker’s employer to detect, investigate or prosecute and does not consist of or involve an act or omission on the part of the employer.

(6) A disclosure of information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings is not a protected disclosure if it is made by a person to whom the information was disclosed in the course of obtaining legal advice.

(7) F1 [ Subject to subsection (7A) , the motivation ] for making a disclosure is irrelevant to whether or not it is a protected disclosure.

F2 [ (7A) Where a worker, referred to in subsection (1) , makes a disclosure of relevant information in the manner specified by that subsection, and in respect of that disclosure of relevant information it is alleged that the disclosure concerned the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of a trade secret (within the meaning of the European Union (Protection of Trade Secrets) Regulations 2018 ( S.I. No. 188 of 2018 )), such disclosure is a protected disclosure provided that the worker has acted for the purposes of protecting the general public interest. ]

(8) In proceedings involving an issue as to whether a disclosure is a protected disclosure it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that it is.