Corruption levels 'low' in Ireland


Ireland continues to have low levels of corruption, according to a new survey that shows Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which is compiled by Transparency International, finds Ireland's score remains unchanged at eight out of 10. This leaves Ireland ranked at 14th in the table of 178 countries.

The index scores countries on a scale of zero to 10, with zero indicating high levels of corruption. The 2010 index shows that nearly three quarters of the countries had a score below five

The countries perceived to be the least corrupt in the world are Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore on a joint score of 9.3.

While Ireland ranked well, the chief executive of Transparency International Ireland said there are "worrying signs" that corruption is still not being addressed by the Government, business and non-profit groups.

"Unfortunately there have been many instances where the fragile nature of Ireland’s anti-corruption standards have been exposed but have gone relatively unnoticed, both at home and abroad," said John Devitt.

Transparency International welcomed the recent anti-corruption investigations led by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) but criticised the Government’s current approach to whistleblower protection, which only protects employees in selected categories.

The group said people working across the public, private and non-profit sectors continue to be exposed to dismissal or legal reprisals for reporting concerns in the public interest.

Transparency also called on the Irish Red Cross to set a good example for other non-profit organisations by commissioning an independent review of claims made by its head of international department, Noel Wardick, about the body.

Mr Wardick publicly aired his concerns about financial management and governance at the charity via a blog and has been suspended since August of this year.

According to the index, Somalia remains the most corrupt country in the world, followed by Burma and Afghanistan in joint second and then by Iraq.

The United States fell to 22nd position after achieving its lowest score in the index's 15-year history. This marks the first time the United States has fallen out of the top 20 least corrupt countries list.

Meanwhile, Russia is ranked as the world's most corrupt major economy. It is placed alongside Tajikistan in 154th place in the index.