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Whistleblower McCabe urges public to get behind legal advice charity

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Whistleblower: Sergeant Maurice McCabe

Whistleblower: Sergeant Maurice McCabe

Whistleblower: Sergeant Maurice McCabe

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe is urging people to get behind a campaign to raise funds for an anti-corruption charity providing free legal advice.

The retired Garda sergeant, who was running his own courier company before the pandemic struck, is a patron for Transparency Ireland (TI).

It provides free legal advice and support for those seeking to uncover corruption or poor practice in both government and private companies and organisations.

Since the pandemic, TI's confidential helpline has been inundated with calls from employees concerned about fraud or unsafe work practices arising from the crisis, according to its chief executive John Devitt.

"With the crisis we've seen a 25pc to 30pc increase in calls to our helpline," he told the Irish Independent.

With only one solicitor available to investigate claims and dispense advice, the charity has set up a GoFundMe campaign from which it hopes to raise €50,000 over the next three months.

The funds would go towards hiring another solicitor to field queries, Mr Devitt said. "We only have one co-ordinator who's barely been able to take a lunch break since March."

He added he believed the phones would be busy once people started to return to work with the easing of the Covid-19 guidelines. "I would expect to see a spike (in calls) over the next few months," he said.

Since the start of the pandemic, TI has seen a "disproportionate number" of claims from mostly workers in healthcare and community service settings.

Issues include unsafe work environments and non-compliance with Covid-19 guidelines on social distancing and other safety measures.

Irish Independent