8 December 2004 - An Irish chapter of Transparency International (TI) launches in Dublin on December 8.It is the newest of some one hundred international offices of TI, the world’s only global NGO totally focussed on fighting corruption. The Berlin-based watchdog and think tank is probably best known for the annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a league table of the perceptions of the least and most corrupt countries.
The official launch at the Law Society this evening will also mark the first United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day. Events to mark the day, themed ‘It’s Your World: Fight Corruption’ will take place around the globe with a worldwide call for the ratification of the UN Convention on Corruption.
While Ireland lies in 17th place out of 146 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index and has taken a number of anti-corruption initiatives in recent years, there is still no room for complacency according to Colm McCarthy TI Ireland’s Chairman. “Government and the Oireachtas must keep the momentum for reform going. TI Ireland will contribute to that process where it can.”
Tribunals and continuous media allegations of corruption in both public and private sectors in Ireland suggest that corruption will remain a pressing issue for the foreseeable future McCarthy says. The only consolation he adds is we’re not alone. “Corruption affects every society in every country around the world, including developed as well as poorer countries.
TI Ireland stress that their approach is non confrontational and aimed at building national and global coalitions of government, business and civil society in addressing the problem. It will not investigate individual cases of alleged corruption and will avoid pointing fingers according to TI Ireland acting Chief Executive John Devitt. Instead he says, “it will take a critical look at government and corporate systems that allow corrupt behaviour to thrive”.
An independent national survey and study on corruption, the first of its kind in Ireland, is planned for 2005. The study, which will allow for international comparisons and be reviewed annually, will assess risks of corruption and the extent and adequacy of countermeasures. TI also plans to commission and support further academic research on public and private sector governance in the coming years.
It’s not all bad news. Colm McCarthy adds that Irish innovations such as the Criminal Assets Bureau have served as examples of international best practise.
"Ireland has an obligation, as part of our assistance to the developing countries, to be pro-active in the anti-corruption efforts of multilateral aid agencies", he added.