Ireland Falls Further Behind Northern European Neighbours in Corruption Perceptions Index
Transparency International Ireland is calling on the government to honour its pledges for reform after its latest Corruption Perceptions Index shows that Ireland’s ranking has fallen and it now compares poorly to other northern European nations. The CPI 2011 shows Ireland tied with Belgium among northern European countries, with only France achieving a lower score. Britain was only one place ahead of Ireland.
The CPI measures perceptions of business people and experts of corruption in the public sector including corruption involving public officials, civil servants or politicians. It looks at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest. Its findings are regularly used by business analysts, rating agencies and investors to measure the quality of regulation and rule of law in those countries listed on the index.
The 2011 index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. The higher a country scores on the index, the less corrupt it is believed to be. The lower the score, the more likely a country is perceived to suffer from high levels of corruption.
In this year’s survey, Ireland ranks 19th out of 183 countries with a score of 7.5 out of ten. Last year Ireland held 14th position with a score of 8. Denmark and Finland are in 2nd and 3rd position with scores of 9.4, followed by Sweden with a score of 9.3. Ireland also ranks behind Norway (6th), the Netherlands (7th), Iceland (13th), Germany (14th), Austria and the UK in joint 16th. Globally, New Zealand is perceived as the least corrupt state, finishing ahead of European leaders Denmark and Finland. The USA is placed 24th, one place above France but well behind Australia in 8th place and Canada in tenth place.
TI Ireland’s chief executive, John Devitt, said Ireland’s poor ranking in relation to its northern European neighbours could deter much needed international investment.
“Ireland’s reputation has been tarnished by the banking crisis which exposed a cosy-cartel culture involving bankers, business elites and politicians. This same pernicious culture brought us the Moriarty Tribunal, the Planning Tribunal, the DIRT inquiry and more. The country’s international reputation now rests as much on our leaders’ commitment to open up government and uphold the rule of law as it does on fixing our economy.”
Mr Devitt urged the government to act on its pledges to legislate to provide universal guarantees for whistleblowers, extend access to official information, reform funding of political parties and establish a mandatory register of lobbyists. He also called for the Criminal Assets Bureau to be given the resources it needs to investigate the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal.
TI Ireland has been operating a free-phone ‘Speak Up’ helpline for whistleblowers, as well as witnesses and victims of corruption, fraud since May this year. So far 150 reports have been made to the helpline. A date for the publication of the first ‘Speak Up’ report will be announced early in 2012. People can call the Speak Up helpline on 1800 844 866 or log on to www.speakup.ie to find out more about the service.