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Childers demands legal protection for whistleblowers across the EU

News item

Wednesday 25 Oct 2017

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed the decision by the European Parliament to demand a European legislative framework to protect whistleblowers who come forward with disclosures of misconduct.

Ms. Childers had steered the work on this report for her political grouping in Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee.

Speaking after today’s vote by the full parliament in Strasbourg, Ms. Childers said:

“We had a horrific reminder of the life and death nature of these matters just this week, as Europe lost a brave investigative journalist in a car bomb murder.

“There has been a litany of high profile disclosures of disgraceful behaviour on a global scale in recent years, including on tax avoidance.

“Yet, the most significant impact we saw on people’s lives was that suffered by the whistleblowers and journalists at the dock, as we saw with the Luxleaks trials.

“This is a farcical and unjust state of affairs, which led me to vote against the Trade Secrets Directive when it came before Parliament.

“Indeed, when egregious misconduct happens not to be explicitly prohibited in legal terms, not only do we often end up with impunity for the perpetrators but also condemnation for those who had the courage to point the finger at them.

“We can no longer tolerate a legal regime that safeguards commercial secrets and at the same time leaves whistleblowers vulnerable to retaliation and even prosecution.

“People’s jobs, good names, and even life and limb are at risk when they take the step to expose wrongdoing.

“Sadly, in Ireland, we are no strangers to this reversal of the scales of natural justice at the hands of the organisations put on the spot.

“I was disappointed to see Fine Gael’s conservative EPP grouping attempting to withhold protection from whistleblowers who reach out to the media in good faith, and then rejecting this motion altogether.

“I call on the Commission to come forward with a proposal as soon as possible.”