Reform needed if State is to arrest slide in corruption rankings, warns expert
Ireland must show it is committed to reform after slipping down world rankings on corruption perception, a corruption expert has warned.
Ireland now sits behind Uruguay and the Bahamas in 25th place on the index, compiled by Transparency International. The ranking is the lowest yet for Ireland and is an 11-place fall from just two years ago.
Elaine Byrne, Irish expert on corruption to the European Commission, said the ranking decline occurred despite reforms planned or already introduced by the Government. These include whistleblower legislation, broadening the Ombudsman’s remit and freedom of information, anti-corruption laws and plans for a register of lobbyists.
“It shows there is no point having legislation if it is not backed up by implementation and Government commitment to standards in public life,” she said.
Transparency International Ireland said a lack of action on the Moriarty tribunal’s findings was one of the reasons for the fall in ranking.
The group warns that the results could hurt Ireland’s economic recovery by turning investors away, frightened by the idea that Government decisions are not been taken in a fair and equitable manner. “Small, open economies are much more exposed to reputational risk than their more powerful counterparts,” said John Devitt, chief executive of Transparency International Ireland.
Skills and flexibility
But IDA Ireland said companies considering coming to Ireland were more interested in the skills and flexibility of the workforce and Ireland’s tax regime.
The index – which draws on surveys of experts and business people – gives an assessment of a country’s political risk and is used by credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s as a way of measuring the potential for sovereign debt default.
“There appears to have been very little action taken on foot of the publication of the final Moriarty tribunal report, while the Taoiseach’s decision to make public appearances with Denis O’Brien after the publication of the report will have done our international reputation no favours,” said Mr Devitt.
Countries topping the index are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand – all tied in first place. Other European states ahead of Ireland include Switzerland, the Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, the UK and France. Uruguay is ranked 20 while the Bahamas is ranked 22. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia all rank at the bottom, in 174th place. The group urged the Government to bring more transparency to the public sector, along with reforms to give the Oireachtas more powers.
“Our reputation for cronyism and other forms of corruption will drive many honest businesses towards more open and well-regulated economies,” added Mr Devitt.
Full results from: cpi.transparency.org/cpi2012/results/
3. New Zealand
Most corrupt in the EU
Most corrupt in world