Press Centre

Rostrevor whistleblowers welcome commitment to fast track legislation to protect others

Press Release: July 8 2011

The Commitment to fast track Whistleblowers legislation announced this week has been welcomed by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland and former employees of Rostrevor Nursing Home.

‘We took a stand against the abuse of vulnerable older people and the price we paid was to lose our jobs and livelihood’s said Victoria Manzano.  ‘The hurt we feel at being punished not protected for doing the right thing in speaking out is indescribable’ she went on to say.

Siobhán O’ Donoghue, Director of MRCI speaking on the issue said ‘many workers feel that they are powerless in reporting wrongdoing.  We come into contact with migrants every day who experience exploitation and who are treated appallingly when they try to challenge abuse of power.  Speaking out against abuse involves taking a huge risk and requires tremendous courage. The allegation is usually denied, the person invariably looses their livelihood and is at risk of becoming undocumented if on a work permit’.

In welcoming the forthcoming Whistleblower legislation Mary Jean Martinez said ‘this is good news and I really hope it will give greater protection to whistle blowers in the future.  However it will not assist with our current situation.  I and a number of my former colleagues are extremely anxious about finding work and having an income to support ourselves and our families.  We understood from media comments made by Minister for Health, James Reilly that there would be some support with finding work.  This has not materialised’.

Ms O’ Donoghue stated ‘ these people did the sate a service in speaking out and taking action.  At the very least they deserve the practical support of the state in moving on with their lives’.  The government has the opportunity to send a strong message of support to whistleblowers by not only introducing this necessary legislation but to also put in place the practical supports vital for whistleblowers to feel protected and secure.’