Dublin, 3 February 2014
The European Commission published its first report on corruption among the 28 EU Member States today. The report which includes a chapter on corruption in Ireland, calls on the Irish Government to put more effort into prosecuting corruption cases, as well as imposing limits on the value of donations that individuals can give in any year. It also recommends that Ireland establishes an urban planning regulator and addresses the risk of conflicts of interest effectively, especially at local government level.
'The report provides a welcome reminder of the findings of the Moriarty and Mahon Tribunals, together with concerns surrounding concentration of media ownership and the potential use of litigation to silence journalists in Ireland', said Transparency International Ireland’s (TI Ireland) Chief Executive John Devitt.
‘There is always the temptation to move on to the next scandal and forget the last. More recently, the conversation has moved on to Irish Water, the charity sector and the Gardaí. However, there is still much work that needs to be done to act on the findings of previous investigations, and the EC’s report should help focus minds on reforms that have been promised but have yet to be delivered’, Mr Devitt added.
While some progress has been noted in terms of the Government’s proposals for new party-political finance, ethics, anti-corruption and whistleblower legislation, the European Commission’s report also focuses on the lack of prosecutions and lack of resources for law enforcement agencies to tackle corruption and white collar crime.
In addition, the report cites Eurobarometer survey figures for 2013 that show that 81 per cent of people in Ireland think corruption is widespread in the country and that 74 per cent of business respondents believe that favouritism and corruption hamper business competition here.
The Anti-Corruption Report is now one of three inter-governmental reviews* on corruption in Ireland and TI Ireland believe it should help build momentum for reforms aimed at promoting accountability and good governance in Ireland and throughout the EU.
Media Contact/Available for interview: John Devitt - 871 9433
*Periodic reports on corruption in Ireland and efforts to combat corruption are conducted by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Ireland is currently taking part in a peer-review excercise as part of its commitment to the UN Convention against Corruption. TI also conducts governance (National Integrity Systems) assessments and reviews aimed at identifying risks and measures aimed at stopping corruption.