What is Whistleblowing?

In short, whistleblowing is raising a concern about wrongdoing.

There are other, more comprehensive, definitions.

Whistleblowing has been variously defined as :

“............a process whereby a person perceives an activity to be illegal, unethical or immoral and discloses this activity 1 ."


“............a term used when someone who works in or for an organisation ...raises a concern about possible fraud, crime, danger or other serious risk that could threaten customers, colleagues, shareholders, the public or the organisation’s own reputation 2 ”.

An example of whistleblowing in a private sector organisation would be an employee raising a concern about fraud where she reasonably believed that her manager had been misappropriating company funds for his personal benefit.

An example of whistleblowing in a public body would be an employee of a Local Authority raising a concern that he reasonable believed that the Authority was breaching health and safety rules by failing to take adequate measures to protect the quality of drinking water.

To see some case studies which provide examples of whistleblowing, click here.

1 Disclosure of Information: duty to inform and whistleblowing. Oireachtas Library & Research Service 12/2011
2 Whistleblowing Arrangements Code of Practice PAS 1998:2008. British Standards Institute

This project has been supported by Kildare Local Enterprise Office which is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union under Ireland's EU Structural Funds Programmes 2007 - 2013.