Transparency Ireland boss defends comments

Sat, Dec 8, 2012, 00:00

The director of Transparency International Ireland has insisted he was correct in linking Ireland’s fall in a corruption perception index with a lack of action on the Moriarty tribunal’s findings.

“We can safely draw conclusions that Ireland’s fall in the index is linked to public attention drawn to the Moriarty and Mahon tribunals,” said John Devitt.

A press release from the organisation last Wednesday, on the global index on corruption perception, made reference to businessman Denis O’Brien.

But a statement released by Mr O’Brien last night said Mr Devitt had admitted earlier yesterday there was no reference to the businessman’s name in the surveys used to compile the index. “This is despite a number of mentions of Mr O’Brien in the press release” on the index, the statement said.

“When contacted by a representative of Mr O’Brien, Mr Devitt revealed that he had included Mr O’Brien’s name in the press release even though Mr O’Brien’s name was not mentioned, referred to or raised in any of the documents on which the index for 2012 was based.”

Mr Devitt said last night the index did not include questions about specific cases in each of the countries covered. “You don’t need to be an expert to conclude that the tribunals and the banking crisis have had an impact on the perceived level of corruption in Ireland,” he said.


The index showed Ireland slipped 11 places to 25th place in corruption perception since last year. The Transparency International Ireland press release said the results came after the publication of the Moriarty and Mahon tribunals.

The press release referred to “further controversy . . . when the Taoiseach shared a platform at Wall Street with Denis O’Brien, a leading businessman linked to clandestine payments to the former minister for communications, Michael Lowry”.

The press release quoted Mr Devitt as saying: “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.”

Mr O’Brien’s statement said, “when asked who took the decision to introduce Mr O’Brien’s name he responded: ‘I would have taken the final decision’.”