29 January 2019
- No significant change in relative perceptions of corruption in Ireland from 2017 to 2018.
Ireland has moved from 19th to 18th place on Transparency International’s (TI) 2018 Corruption Perceptions (CPI), however its score has declined marginally from 74 to 73 points out of 100 this year.
The CPI ranks 180 countries based on perceived levels of corruption and is based on the findings of up to 13 surveys. Countries that are high-ranking and have more points out of 100 are considered to be the least affected by public-sector corruption.
Ireland continues to lag behind some of its EU-counterparts, such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, which all rank in the top ten. Its relatively poor ranking in comparison to other small open economies also places it at a competitive disadvantage to countries perceived to effectively address corruption.
‘Recent initiatives such as the passing of the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 and the establishment of an anti-corruption unit within An Garda Síochána are to be welcomed. The measures should have a positive long-term impact on Ireland’s international reputation if they are resourced and implemented adequately’, said John Devitt, Chief Executive of Transparency International (TI) Ireland.
‘That said, we cannot afford to be complacent. We have seen how failures to uphold standards in public office have affected trust in democratic institutions elsewhere, leading to a rise in far-right movements across Europe and political instability on our doorstep’, Mr Devitt added.
Cross analysis with global democracy data from the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals a link between corruption and the health of democracies. Those jurisdictions defined as ‘full democracies’ score an average of 75 on the CPI; ‘flawed democracies’ score an average of 49; ‘hybrid regimes’ – which show elements of autocratic tendencies – score 35; ‘autocratic regimes’ perform worst, with an average score of just 30 on the CPI.
TI Ireland has urged the Oireachtas to enact the Public Sector Standards Bill 2015. The Bill, which has been delayed, would go some way to implementing the recommendations of the Mahon Tribunal and address future conflicts of interest by TDs, Ministers and office-holders. The Bill has not progressed beyond Committee stage in almost two years.
During 2018, TI Ireland also launched the first ranking of local authorities to measure their commitment to open government and found shortcomings in the quality of information they share with the public and how they address the risk of corruption.
- 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. Access to free legal advice for people making disclosures of wrongdoing is available from the Transparency Legal Advice Centre. The free-phone helpline (1800 844 866) is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
- TI Ireland’s Integrity at Work initiative aims at helping employers create safer working environments for their workers to speak up. The initiative is currently supported by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Department of Justice and Equality. Twenty organisations, including An Garda Síochána, have signed up to the Integrity at Work Pledge since 2016.
- Free guidance on whistleblowing is also available at https://transparency.ie/helpline/guides
Media contact: (John Devitt) 01 554 3938