UL whistleblower 'suffered for telling the truth'

Friday 10 November 2017 12.35
UL whistleblower 'suffered for telling the truth'

One of the whistleblowers who raised concerns about financial expenses and other matters at the University of Limerick, who said she was managed out of her job, said she feels vindicated by today's Higher Education Authority report into matters of concern at the university.

Leona O'Callaghan said the report finds that she and two other employees, who also worked in the finance department and who remained suspended from their jobs, were correct to raise the matters that they did.

She said that while she feels vindicated, she suffered for telling the truth. She lost her job, and has been through a very tough time and feels the way she was treated by UL when she was working in expenses was appalling. 

She said her life has changed dramatically and she has suffered financial, reputational and emotional damage.


In a statement, Ms O'Callaghan said she was relieved that a need for change has been identified to improve the culture in UL.

Ms O'Callaghan also said she hopes this brings about a change in how whistleblowers are seen and treated in workplaces "when they are brave enough to speak out".

"Although this report helps heal the damage done, it still leaves me in the same financial and career place. I still have no pension, no full-time position and struggle financially to make ends meet when this was not the case before I was managed out by UL," her statement adds.

Ms O'Callaghan said she hopes UL can now have a culture where in any position, "the right thing to do is the right thing to do".

"I feel that was not the case before as the very reason I lost my job was as a result of doing the right thing," she added.

A statement issued on behalf of the two other whistleblowers said it had been a very traumatic and difficult time for them and they needed sufficient time to examine the report.

A separate statement from the university read: "Having called for this independent external review and supported it over the past six months, UL president Dr Des Fitzgerald and the university's new senior management team will now consider and act on this report.

Dr Fitzgerald said he wanted to immediately acknowledge the seriousness of the matters addressed within it.