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Corruption Perceptions Index 2019 - next government must commit to meaningful reform

23 January 2020
Dublin, 23 January 2020
Transparency International Ireland (TI Ireland) has called on political parties to deliver on promised reforms aimed at tackling corruption, as it launches the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) today. 
Ireland’s position on the CPI has remained static, however its score has improved marginally from 73 to 74 points out of 100 this year. 
Significantly, Ireland is also considered to be affected by corruption to a greater degree than its northern European neighbours, most of which rank in the top ten on the index. Denmark is perceived to be the least corrupt country this year with a score of 87 out of 100. Somalia is considered to be the country most affected by corruption with a score of 9 out of 100. 
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 perceived to be the least affected by public-sector corruption.
‘All the main political parties promised sweeping reforms in response to the Mahon Tribunal findings of systemic corruption in politics. That was eight years ago. The Public Sector Standards Bill was published in 2015 in response to the Mahon Tribunal findings and was aimed at preventing and detecting future corruption. The Bill has languished in the Oireachtas for almost five years and it’s possible that it will never be enacted, said John Devitt, Chief Executive of TI Ireland.
‘The Government also signed up to the Open Government Partnership in 2014 but it is at risk of being cut loose from the global initiative because it has yet to produce a new national action plan that would show it’s serious about public sector transparency. 
‘The next government cannot afford to rest on its laurels and although initiatives such as the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 are welcome, they’re not nearly enough on their own to stop corruption or convince international observers that we’ve cleaned up our act’, added Mr Devitt.
TI Ireland has also pointed to weaknesses in anti-corruption controls in Irish county and city councils. Its National Integrity Index ranking of local authorities for 2019 found that while some county councils were more transparent than during the previous year, too few councils are publishing details of their efforts to address the risk of corruption including councillors’ political donations and ethics declarations.
In addition, TI Ireland is supporting the Fair Play Pledge which commits candidates to campaigning openly, respectfully and fairly, as well as to  champion election integrity and reform once they are elected. TI Ireland recently underscored the risk of abuse of crowd-funding platforms and called on candidates and political parties to only use fundraising websites that allowed for the verification of the identity of their donors.
‘It would be a big mistake to assume that because we’re not perceived to be as corrupt as countries like Russia or Nigeria, that we can afford to roll back on commitments to make our own government more open and accountable. It’s important that our next government invests the necessary resources and political will to make sure we don’t see a return of the abuses exposed by the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals’, said Mr Devitt.
  • 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. Free guidance on whistleblowing is also available at   
Media contact: (John Devitt) 01 554 3938