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Response to Phoenix Magazine Article on Transparency International

Dublin, 17 May 2006 - Open letter to the editor of Phoenix Magazine outlining facts about Transparency International

Dear Sir,

I write to comment on your entertaining but misleading piece titled “Irish worthies soft on Wolfowitz” from 7 May 2006. As your readers may be aware Transparency International does not undertake investigations, name names or comment on individual cases. Rather, our focus is on long-term solutions addressing systemic problems in the public and private sectors. Your readers may also be aware that it is not our organisation’s policy to call for the resignation of individual public officials or representatives. Furthermore, TI Ireland does not undertake international advocacy unless it is in coordination with the Secretariat or other TI chapters.

Instead TI works with, rather than against, government, business, civil society and international organisations (including the United Nations and the World Bank) to build capacity, design strategies and implement policies aimed at preventing bribery and other forms of corruption in business and government.

Since its foundation in 1993, TI has been hugely successful in placing corruption on the public agenda worldwide. It has helped to formulate codes, laws and international conventions designed to prevent corruption and consistently promoted the role of civil society and a free media in advancing public accountability. These achievements are underpinned by research, education and public information programmes led by a team of 60 staff and volunteers in Berlin and around 90 autonomous chapters worldwide.

TI Ireland was established in 2004. It has one member of staff, a small team of volunteers and an annual budget of around €50,000. Its membership, Board and Advisory Council include individuals from across the political spectrum with a background in government, business and civil society. Serving and former members include Tom Arnold of Concern, Noeleen Hartigan of Amnesty International, Valerie Bresnihan former Chair of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, former Ombudsman Kevin Murphy, and former SIPTU president Des Geraghty.

TI Ireland has never received funding from the World Bank. TI has received relatively little financial support from the same organisation. In 2005 the Bank contributed €1,178 to TI Secretariat compared to €150,000 provided by Irish Aid that same year (the latest available figures). While TI’s founder and current chair of its Advisory Council, Peter Eigen served as the World Bank’s director for East Africa until his retirement in 1991, no serving member of staff at TI Secretariat and only one serving director of TI (out of twelve) have been employees of the World Bank. TI’s and TI Ireland’s financial statements and annual reports are publicly available and can be downloaded at and


John Devitt
Chief Executive
Transparency International Ireland