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Corruption Perceptions Index 2016

25 January 2017

Ireland falls one place (from 18th to 19th) in Corruption Perceptions Index for 2016

Dublin, 25 January 2017

Transparency International (TI) has warned of the role corruption poses in fuelling anti-democratic populism and the dangers of populism itself as it publishes its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2016 today. Ireland has slipped one place on the CPI for 2016. The findings show a fall in Ireland’s ranking in the index since 2015 from 18 to 19 out of 176 countries, with those countries near the top of the CPI being considered to be the least affected by corruption.

TI Ireland has repeated its call on the Government to invest resources and political capital in promoting higher ethical standards in public life. 


‘Political leaders around the world, and that includes Ireland, have failed to see the link between political corruption and the public distrust it engenders towards democratic institutions. It’s not too late to challenge hate-politics and demagoguery in Europe, but politicians from across the political divide need to understand the urgency of implementing reforms that rebuild trust in democracy itself’, said John Devitt, Chief Executive of TI Ireland.

Although we have yet to see the rise of the far-right in Ireland, the failure of some politicians to consistently meet high standards in public office, or to hold to account all but a handful of suspects of corruption and serious fraud, continues to undermine public trust in parliamentary democracy and breeds the conditions for cynical populism’, he added.

While Ireland is considered to be one of those countries least affected by systemic public-sector corruption, it is perceived to be far less clean than many of the world’s advanced democracies including Denmark and New Zealand which top the list of those considered to be the ‘least corrupt’ countries this year. TI also notes that no country can be perceived to completely free of corruption.

Contributing factors in Ireland’s relatively low standing are believed to include international scrutiny over its failure to police financial institutions which led to the collapse of its banking sector in 2007; a series of tribunals of inquiry which made findings of corruption in Ireland’s planning system, police and public procurement; and recent controversies surrounding the sale of National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) property portfolios. 

Top performing countries are also believed to share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that do not differentiate between rich and poor, and that are truly independent from other parts of government. 


  • For the avoidance of doubt, neither TI nor TI Ireland directly attributes a country's rise or fall on the CPI to any individual.  
  • TI Ireland operates the Speak Up helpline for whistleblowers, as well as witnesses and victims of fraud, corruption and other wrongdoing. The free-phone helpline (1800 844 866) is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
  • It will publish its second Speak Up Report for 2016 next month which highlights the risk of corruption across both the public and private sectors.
  • Free guidance on whistleblowing is also available at
  • The Speak Up helpline will soon be operated by the Transparency Legal Advice Centre, providing access to free specialist legal advice to anyone making disclosures of wrongdoing. 
  • TI Ireland has also recently launched a new initiative titled Integrity at Work which is aimed at helping employers create safer working environments for their workers to speak up.

Media contact: (John Devitt) 01 554 3938