Potential whistleblowers will be “alarmed” at the treatment of a Tusla employee who made a protected disclosure, a TD has warned.
Sean Sherlock, Labour’s spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, made the comment after the Irish Examiner revealed that a Tusla whistleblower was left “extremely distressed” and without income, despite the Child and Family Agency suggesting he would be on paid leave pending an investigation into his claims.
The whistleblower had offered his resignation when making a disclosure about procurement matters.
He subsequently received a letter from Tusla to inform him that its Director of Quality Assurance would instead recommend that Human Resources would place him on paid leave.
However this did not happen, and the whistleblower went weeks without payment, only to discover that his original resignation had been accepted, despite the subsequent letter.
“It is deeply worrying that a whistleblower in Tusla who made a formal complaint had their employment terminated when they thought they were being put on paid leave,” Mr Sherlock said.
“The way it was handled also meant the person concerned was unable to secure social welfare benefits.”
“It is reported that the complaint was worthy of investigation following the recommendation of an independent third party.
“The issues around procurement, and how cash withdrawals are handled is concerning.
“Tusla need to clarify what happened here, and why the recommendation of the Director of Quality Assurance was not followed by Human Resources.
“The way this person was treated will have the direct impact of alarming and warning off other potential whistleblowers because of the impact of raising concerns would have on their career.
“This is not how the Protected Disclosures Act is meant to be used.
“Despite the independent third party expressing concerns about the impact on the whistleblower’s welfare it appears nothing was done about it.
“The whistleblower had been told that a recommendation was made to HR that they remain on payroll pending the outcome of the investigation. We now need to know why this wasn’t done,” Mr Sherlock said.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin said the case is an example of why Tusla is “not fit for purpose”.
Kathleen Funchion Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs has called for an investigation into the allegation.
“Tusla have illustrated on numerous occasions that they are not fit for purpose. A total reform of Tusla from the top down is needed.
“This particular allegation needs to be investigated immediately and we need to be informed of the outcome,” she said.
Fred, says, this man was treated like a Criminal for telling the Truth? He had no salary, he may have Debts at this stage, Why, for telling the Truth. Tulsa should be Disbanded urgently, not one Tulsa member faced the Courts in relation to Maurice McCabe, we all know that story? Tulsa will carry on, this Abuse if this Idiotic Goverment as usual do nothing, Where from here?