The Irish Examiner revealed today that the whistle-blower – one of three who has previously raised concerns about staff’s exposure to chemicals – has announced his decision to retire early.
His decision comes two months after telling Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe that he has not received assurances from Defence Forces hierarchy that he is not being targeted for making protected disclosures.
Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said a list of deaths compiled by one Air Corps whistle-blower requires explanation.
The list, the existence of which was previously reported in this newspaper, contains the details of more than 70 deaths of former Air Corps staff that the whistle-blower believes may be connected to chemical exposures at the force’s headquarters in Casement Aerodrome.
She described the revelation that a whistle-blower is to retire early as ‘shocking’.
“I’m very concerned about the treatment of whistle-blowers and people making disclosures, as some arms of the public service are not dealing with them as comprehensively or fairly as they should,” Ms Murphy said.
Fianna Fáil Defence spokesman, Jack Chambers, said the whistle-blower’s decision “demonstrates a dysfunction in the complaints process” and will act as a deterrent to anyone else who is thinking about coming forward.
“This is symptomatic of the general malaise that has been allowed to fester within the Defence Forces under the current Minister. Whistle-blowers who feel that their only next option is to retire demonstrates a dysfunction in the complaints process and it certainly doesn’t encourage others who have issues of concern from engaging with the process.”