Making a ‘protected disclosure’ is sometimes called ‘whistleblowing or ‘reporting wrongdoing in the workplace’.  A protected disclosure is a disclosure by a worker of information about a relevant wrongdoing which they became aware of in a work related context.

The Protected Disclosures Act provides certain protections to those who make protected disclosures.

You can make a protected disclosure if you are a “worker” and you disclose relevant information in a particular way. Information is relevant if it came to your attention in connection with your work and you reasonably believe that it shows “relevant wrongdoing”.

What can I report / what is a “relevant wrongdoing”?

Relevant wrongdoings might be any of the following:

  • Criminal offences
  • Failure to comply with a legal obligation (other than your contract of employment)
  • Miscarriage of justice
  • Endangerment of health and safety
  • Damage to the environment
  • Unlawful or improper use of public funds
  • Oppressive, discriminatory or behaviour or behaviour that constitutes gross mismanagement by a public body
  • Breaches of EU law
  • Concealing or destroying evidence of wrongdoing

Relevant wrongdoings are usually not any of the following:

  • Exclusively personal workplace grievances
  • Disputes with your employers in relation to your contracts
  • When it is your job to uncover the wrongdoing, for example a police officer investigating a crime or an environmental officer inspecting an oil spill
  • When the information is disclosed in a legally privileged setting.

Neither of the lists above are absolute. If you have any doubt about what is meant by making a protected disclosure or reporting wrongdoing, you may wish to seek advice from Transparency International Ireland who offer free confidential information, support and access to free legal advice on making protected disclosures.

Who is protected? / Am I a “worker”?

In this situation the word “worker” has a wide meaning and includes:

  • Employees
  • Agency workers
  • Contractors
  • Trainees
  • Volunteers
  • Board members
  • Shareholders
  • Job applicants

Who can I make a report to?

You can make a report of wrongdoing to:

Your employer

Most people first contact their employer to report wrongdoing. Your employer may have a policy and a dedicated reporting channel for dealing with reports of wrongdoing, which you can use to make your report.

A ‘prescribed person’

If you do not want to make a report to your employer, you can consider contacting a prescribed person. Prescribed persons are generally regulators in the areas that are subject of allegations. Here’s a link to a full list of prescribed persons. To make a protected disclosure to a prescribed person, you must also reasonably believe that the prescribed person is responsible for your report and the information you disclose and any allegation you make is substantially true.

The Office of the Protected Disclosures Commissioner

If, having considered the options available to you, you are not sure who to contact, you can make a report to us, the Protected Disclosures Commissioner. 

To make a protected disclosure to the Commissioner you must also reasonably believe that the information you disclose and any allegation you make is substantially true. We will check if there is an appropriate prescribed person to deal with your report and, where there is, we will send your report to them. We will not investigate what you say in your report or check whether or not it qualifies for protection before we send it to another person.  

You can use our downloadable form to help you, email us at, or call us on 01 639 5650.

If we decide there is no appropriate prescribed person to send it to, we may deal with your report as the prescribed person of last resort. For more information on how reports that are accepted by the Commissioner as recipient of last report are handled, please see our procedures.

Other external persons subject to certain conditions

If you are or were employed by a public body you may be able to make a report to Government Minister who has a responsibility for the public body. If you make a report to a Minister, you must satisfy additional conditions to qualify for the protections under the Protected Disclosures Act. When a Minister receives a report they must, without having considered the report, send it to the Protected Disclosures Commissioner who will identify the appropriate prescribed person or other suitable person.

In the course of obtaining legal advice from a barrister, solicitor, trade union official or official of any exception excepted body within the meaning of section 6 of the Trade Union Act 1941. 

To other external persons who are not specified above, for example you can make a report to a journalist. If you make a report to an other person, you must satisfy additional conditions to qualify for the protections under the Protected Disclosures Act. We strongly recommend that you seek advice before making this type of report to assess whether you satisfy those conditions.


You can read more at How do I report wrongdoing