Perceptions of corruption in Ireland remain unchanged from 2016 to 2017
Ireland remains in 19th place on Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks 183 countries based on perceived levels of corruption.
Countries that are high-ranking and have more points out of 100 are considered to be the least affected by public-sector corruption. Ireland gained a single point from its score last year, increasing from 73 to 74 points, but in terms of statistical significance, there are no grounds for concluding that there has been any notable change in the perception of corruption in Ireland between 2016 and 2017.
With its 19th place ranking, Ireland is perceived to be more corrupt than many of its neighbours and EU-counterparts, such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK, which all rank in the top ten. Ireland’s relatively poor ranking in comparison to other small open economies also places it at a competitive disadvantage to countries perceived to effectively address corruption.
TI Ireland continues to call on the Government to promote integrity, good governance and higher ethical standards in public life. The Government needs to commit more resources, strengthen legislation and ensure adequate enforcement of the framework of laws in Ireland that help prevent corruption.
The recent Eurobarometer Business and Corruption study suggests that impunity remains a particularly important issue in Ireland. Fifty-five percent of those polled in Ireland found it ‘totally unlikely’ that ‘businesses engaging in corrupt practices would be heavily fined or imprisoned by a court’, and 49% found it totally unlikely that ‘they would be caught or reported to the police or prosecutors’. As TI Ireland has stated in the past, ‘Laws that are not enforced are not worth much more than the paper they’re written on’.
While the results of the 2017 CPI help to highlight international corruption trends, more detailed qualitative analysis allows for a closer look into the situation in Ireland. TI Ireland published its Speak Up Report 2017 in December, based on the data collected from over 850 callers to the Speak Up Helpline from 2011 to early 2017. The report also includes findings from the first national survey on experiences and attitudes to whistleblowing in Ireland.
In addition, Transparency International is concerned with the current crackdowns on civil society and the media across the world. These are key actors in shining a light on corrupt behaviour and making sure those who commit acts of corruption are held to account. TI Ireland, along with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Amnesty International Ireland raised concerns about the disproportionate impact of the Electoral Act on the work of civil society in Ireland earlier this year. They noted the risk that the Electoral Acts ‘could operate to stymie the legitimate activities of a variety of individuals and groups in civil society’, and the potential for the complaints procedure under the Acts to be used by those who wish to silence NGOs.
TI Ireland has also spent the past eight months carrying out research into local government in Ireland, looking into the systems and practices to promote integrity and prevent corruption in the 31 local authorities across the country. The results of that study will be published next month.
- For the avoidance of doubt, neither TI nor TI Ireland directly attributes a country's rise or fall on the CPI to any individual.
- TI Ireland operates the Speak Up helpline for whistleblowers, as well as witnesses and victims of fraud, corruption and other wrongdoing. Access to free legal advice for people making disclosures of wrongdoing is available from the Transparency Legal Advice Centre. The free-phone helpline (1800 844 866) is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
- TI Ireland’s Integrity at Work initiative aims at helping employers create safer working environments for their workers to speak up. The initiative is currently supported by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Department of Justice and Equality. Twenty organisations, including An Garda Síochána, have signed up to the Integrity at Work Pledge since 2016.
- Free guidance on whistleblowing is also available at http://transparency.ie/helpline/guides