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86 per cent of Irish people believe corruption is a major problem

Some 36 per cent of respondents said they believed they were personally affected by corruption in their daily lives, according to the latest report by the Standards in Public Office Commission.

THE VAST MAJORITY of Irish people think that corruption is a major problem in the country, according to the Standards in Public Office Commission’s annual report for 2011.

A substantial minority of respondents (36 per cent) believed that they were personally affected by corruption in their daily lives, and 65 per cent said they believed that bribery and abuse of position for personal gain was widespread among politicians at national level.

Commenting on findings, Chairman of the Commission, Mr Justice M P Smith said that progress in reforming Ireland’s anti-corruption legislation – including legislation regarding ethics and elections – was an “absolutely essential” step in regaining the people’s trust in public institutions and in restoring Ireland’s international reputation.

Smith said there were “encouraging indications” that the recommendations of the Mahon and Moriarty Tribunals, together with many of the Standards Commission’s recommendations for change, were being taken seriously by the Government.

The Standards Commission welcomed, in particular, the proposed changes in political funding and whistleblower protection as well as the announcement earlier this year by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform that he intends to introduce ‘root and branch’ reform of the existing ethics legislation.

The Commission said it had been seeking the introduction of a comprehensive act consolidating the Ethics Acts and all other legislation providing for disclosure of interests – and related provisions for public officials along with wider disclosure of interests – for a number of years.

The report also showed that the overall expenditure in Dáil Éireann for last year’s general election was nearly €18. million less than in 2007 – and that there were 100 fewer candidates.

Read: Over €1m spent on sending children of Irish diplomats to school>

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