Irish law permits all Irish citizens to report frauds against the U.S. Government under the False Claims Act, or violations of the provisions of the Securities & Exchange Act, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, or Commodities Exchange Act.

Current Status of Ireland’s Whistleblower Laws

What disclosures are currently protected?

Ireland currently has a patchwork of whistleblower laws protecting citizen disclosures including reports of: breaches of the Ethics Acts; violations of competition law; matters relating to workplace health & safety issues; corruption or malpractice amongst police; threats to the welfare of patients in health care; threats to consumers; breaches relating to chemicals; and violations of charities law. Ireland’s only comprehensive “whistleblower protection law” is the Public Disclosures Act of 2014, which allows both public and private employees who report a wide range of misconduct to be protected from retaliation including coercion, harassment, or discrimination as well as civil liability and criminal prosecution.

However, there is no reward provisions for successful whistleblowers in Irish law and law enforcement and government agencies in Ireland still lack comprehensive whistleblower programs. Therefore, whistleblowers may be better off reporting to U.S. regulators, at least until the transposition of the Whistleblower Directive is complete.

Can Irish whistleblowers receive rewards?

There is no law in Ireland providing whistleblowers rewards, however, they may receive rewards through U.S. laws.

Recent updates or future legislative developments

Ireland is currently in the process of transposing the EU Whistleblower Directive and just closed its public comment period for the new law that will be enacted. Given the broad protections already in place for protecting whistleblowers from retaliation, whistleblowers and advocates alike are optimistic about protections to be offered in the new legislation.

Can/should Irish whistleblowers report to U.S. officials?

No law in Ireland currently prohibits Irish citizens from reporting frauds against the U.S. government under the False Claims Act, or violations of provisions of other statutes including the Securities & Exchange Act, Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, or Commodities Exchange Act. Therefore, Irish whistleblowers can and should report relevant violations to U.S. officials under these laws. 

Introduction for Irish Whistleblowers Using U.S. Laws

An overview of the whistleblower protections in the United States

The United States has over 50 separate whistleblower laws, and they each define a protected disclosure separately. 

The most comprehensive and widely used U.S. laws offering whistleblowers significant protections are the False Claims Act, the Dodd Frank Act, the Commodities Exchange Act, and the Internal Revenue Code

These laws all provide various degrees of anonymity, confidentiality, and rewards and cover a myriad of common legal violations.

Protection and anonymity under commonly used whistleblower laws

The False Claims Act permits a whistleblower to file his or her original complaint without revealing his/her identity to the public or a would-be defendant. However, after the government concludes its investigation as to the subject of the complaint, in most cases, the complaint is made public.

The SEC Whistleblower Program (created by the Dodd Frank Act), which includes fraud under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, and bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, allows for anonymous and confidential filings with the SEC. The Similarly, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Whistleblower Program allows for confidential and anonymous filings. Both programs have significant safeguards in place to protect confidential whistleblowers from detection and retaliation. 

The IRS whistleblower program, which covers tax frauds, underpayments, and money laundering does provide that whistleblowers’ confidentiality will be protected to the maximum extent permitted by law but does not permit anonymous filings.

Federal employees also can follow rules for confidentiality under the