Diploma in Whistleblowing & Protected Disclosures


Diploma in Whistleblowing

Course Details

Full Course name:
Diploma in Whistleblowing and Protected Disclosures

Start date:
28 January 2020

10 weeks, Tuesday evenings from 6.30 to 9.30 pm

Course Fee

Classroom-based: €995
(€1,095 if paying  in instalments)

Online course: €895
(€995 if paying in instalments)

Non-EU students: Call +353 1 4160034

Course Award

Award: City Colleges Diploma

CPD Hours:

Recognised by The Institute of Banking and LIA for CPD Purposes

Learn about the protective legal framework for protected disclosures in Ireland.

protected disclosures

  • Lecture 1 – Winds of Change: Introduction of Whistleblower Legislation

    • The Basics:
    – What is “whistleblowing”?
    – Why is it important?
    – Why do whistleblowers need protection?
    • Pre-Protected Disclosures Position:
    – Sectoral Approach
    – Gaps
    • Winds of Change:
    – Developments in the UK
    – Initial attempt to bring in Protective Legislation
    – Recommendations of Mahon Tribunal, Nyberg Report etc.
    – Whistleblowers on the National Stage
    • Overview of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014
    – Application
    – Overview of provisions

    Lecture 2 – Whistleblowing: Protected Disclosures

    • Who can make a Protected Disclosure?
    • What is a Protected Disclosure?
    – Relevant Information
    – Retrospective and Extra-territorial Effect
    – Significance of Motive
    • Stepped Procedure for Disclosure
    – Disclosure to Employer or other Responsible Person
    – Disclosure to Prescribed Person
    – Disclosure to Minister
    – Disclosure to Legal Adviser
    – Disclosure in other cases
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 3 – Whistleblower Protections for Protected Disclosures

    • Protection from Dismissal
    – Unfair Dismissal under Unfair Dismissals Act
    – Interim relief pending Claim for Unfair Dismissal
    • Protection from Penalisation
    – What is penalisation?
    – Complaint to Workplace Relations Commission
    • Tort Action for suffering Detriment
    – What is “detriment”?
    – Requirement to elect cause of action
    • Protection from Civil Liability
    – Protection from Civil Liability
    – Possibility of Defamation Action
    • Protection from Criminal Liability
    – Defence to criminal prosecution
    • Anonymity
    – General rule
    – Exceptions
    – Right of action
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 4 – Whistleblowing – Special Cases

    • Law Enforcement
    – Circumstances where not a protected disclosure
    – Prescribed Person
    • Security, Defence, International Relations and Intelligence
    – Circumstances where not a protected disclosure
    – Disclosures Recipient
    • Amendments of Garda Síochána Act 2005
    – Disclosures by members of An Garda Síochána
    – Ombudsman Commission
    • Amendment of Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004
    – Disclosures by members of the Defence Forces
    – Ombudsman for the Defence Forces
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 5 – Whistleblowing Obligations on Public Service Employers etc.

    • Protected Disclosure Policy
    – Requirement
    – “Protected Disclosure” Policy and “Grievance” Policy distinguished
    – Guidance on how to draft such a policy
    – Implementation
    • Annual Reports
    – Requirement
    – Selection of Reports
    • Prohibition of contracting out of protections
    – General position
    – Legislative provision
    • Protections in other Enactments
    – Preservation of protection
    – Amendments
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 6 – Wooing the Would-Be Whistleblower or Waging a War: Incentives and Disincentives

    • Incentivising Whistleblowing
    – Rationale
    – Various Types of Incentive (e.g. immunity from penalisation and prosecution, financial incentives)
    – Critique
    • Deterring Whistleblowing
    – Role of Confidentiality
    – Role of Copyright
    – Role of Data-Protection
    – Role of Defamation
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 7 – Mandatory Reporting

    • “Mandatory Reporting” and “Whistleblowing” distinguished
    • Rationale for Mandatory Reporting
    • Various Legal Provisions:
    – Taxes Consolidation Act 1997
    – Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998
    – Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001
    – Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
    – Criminal Justice Act 2011
    – Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012
    – Companies Acts
    • Critique
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 8 – Private Employers: The Case for a Whistleblower Policy

    • Impact of Protected Disclosures Legislation
    • Risk of corporate fraud/crime
    – Cause
    – Prevalence
    – Impacts
    • Internal whistle-blowing
    – Role in prevention
    – Role in detection
    – Role in resolving
    • Advantages of Policy
    – Encourages Employees
    – Contributes to Ethical Culture
    – Signals Corporate Responsibility
    • Disadvantages of Policy
    – Potential Misuse
    – Need for Resources
    • Relevant case studies

    Lecture 9 – A Selection of Ireland’s Most Famous Whistleblower

    • An Garda Síochána
    – e.g. Maurice McCabe, John Wilson
    • Healthcare
    – e.g. Áras Attracta Whistleblowers
    • Defence Forces
    – Tom Clonan
    • Financial Sector
    – Eugene McErlean (AIB)

    Lecture 10 – Whistle-Blowing on the International Stage

    • International Initiatives:
    – United Nations
    – European Union
    – Council of Europe
    • Common Law Initiatives
    – UK
    – Australia
    – Canada
    – New Zealand
    – US
    • Whistle-Blowers on the International Stage


Tara Murphy is a practising barrister, who has worked in advisory, policy and research roles in both the Public and Private Sectors. From 2013 to 2015, Tara worked with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Department is responsible for a number of initiatives to improve the openness, transparency and accountability of the Civil and Public Service. Based in the Civil Service HR Policy Directorate, Tara provided legal assistance in relation to a range of employment law issues including, but not limited to, the roll-out and implementation of several new HR policies.

Tara also spent a number of years working with the Law Reform Commission, an independent body established under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to keep the law under independent, objective and expert review. The Commission has published a wide range of consultation papers and reports on diverse areas of civil and criminal law. Tara worked on several of these publications, including those relating to the Civil Liability of the Good Samaritans and Volunteers, and Mandatory Sentencing. Tara has presented a number of papers on her work including, in particular, sentencing the corporate fraudster.

Tara has worked with a number of other organisations including the National Disability Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Tara holds a Degree in Law with French Law from University College Dublin, a Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex and a Diploma in Employment Law from Dublin Institute of Technology. She also studied at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns.

Tara’s areas of interest include employment law, criminal law, contract law and human rights law. She lectures in employment law, corporate fraud investigation, anti-money laundering and financial law and regulation.

A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding of the Diploma. A fail grade will result in a Certificate of Attendance for the course but without the Diploma being awarded.

Students must attend at least 80% of classes to graduate with either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance unless a serious and verifiable reason for further absence is provided. If completing the course online, attendance and participation is tracked through Moodle.

The assignment/project must be handed in on the due date unless a sound reason for lateness is provided. In such instances, an extension may be awarded at the discretion of the lecturer.

“Tara’s material is well prepared and she is very knowledgeable on the subject matter.  She presents the class in a professional manner, while maintaining good approachability.  She is excellent at encouraging class discussion around what is a very interesting subject.”

Tony Coughlan

Those working in Human Resources including HR Consultants, Managers, Advisors and Assistants.  Those working in Industrial Relations providing representation and advice to employers and/or employees.  Those working in the Public and Private Sectors including employers, managers and employees.