Irish put politicians at top of corruption list


Irish people believe political parties are more affected by corruption than any other institution or sector, according to new opinion poll research for Transparency International, the international anti-corruption agency.

The survey in the agency's 2004 Global Corruption Barometer found that the legal system and judiciary were perceived to be the next most corrupt institutions in Ireland with the Oireachtas perceived as the third most corrupt body.

Transparency International has opened a Dublin office with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust in York, England. The acting chief executive in Dublin, Mr John Devitt, said Transparency would conduct an extensive study next year on the "integrity of public institutions and systems" in Ireland. The study would be used as the benchmark for further reviews and studies.

The headquarters of the organisation is in Berlin and it is part-funded by the development agencies of western governments.

Mr Devitt said the study was published to mark the first UN International Anti-Corruption Day.

Political parties were rated as the institutions most affected by corruption in 36 of the 62 countries studied in the global barometer, he said. The Irish survey results published yesterday followed a telephone poll of a national sample of 500 people, which was conducted in July and August by Millward Brown IMS.

Respondents were asked to categorise their perception of corruption in different sectors on a scale of 1 to 5; 1 meaning "corrupt free" and 5 meaning "extremely corrupt". The political parties emerged with a rating of 3.9 in the Irish survey; the legal system and judiciary had a rating of 3.3, while the Oireachtas had a rating of 3.2.

Other ratings included the Garda 3.1; business and private sector 3.l; the Revenue 3; the medical system 2.8; religious bodies 2.8; the media 2.8. The survey gave a rating of 2.3 to phone, electricity and other utilities; customs services had a rating of 2.3; and the education system had a 2.2 rating. Non-governmental organisations were 2.2 with the Defence Forces at 2.1.

Transparency International said the global report indicated that "people around the world remain pessimistic" about corruption and that one in five people believed corruption would increase significantly in the next three years.