Sipo Annual Report July 21, 2012Posted by doctorfive in Ethics, Irish Politics.
In among the customary dump before the holidays is the Standards Commission annual report for 2011. The intro leads with a Eurbarometer poll from last year showing 86% believe corruption is a major problem in this country. The remaining figure looking remarkably similar to that unshakeable Fianna Fáil base is probably coincidence.
In a Eurobarometer poll (76.1) conducted in September 2011, 86% of Irish people surveyed agreed with the statement that corruption is a major problem in this country. A substantial minority of 36% of the sample believed that they were personally affected by corruption in their daily lives. 65% believed that bribery and abuse of position for personal gain was widespread among politicians at national level. If our trust in public institutions is to be restored and our international reputation improved, then progress in reforming our anti-corruption legislation is absolutely essential.
Aside, there is not a whole lot that hadn’t already been published but plenty of figures and titbits given the amount of elections last year. Well over a million spent on the Davis, Dana, Norris & Mitchell campaigns with no reimbursement having failed to reach a quota. Fine Gael topped the list incurring €527,152.01 expenses and not a single recorded donation. Almost 50k of that spend was with Amarach Research (run by former Fine Gael Political Director Michael McLoughlin) testing negative messages about other candidates.
The code of conduct for members of Dáil Éireann remains sufficient (and a good laugh) but the Commission expresses disappointment that an ethical framework for the Garda Síochána and Local Government services has not been forthcoming. There is also details on the introduction of a voluntary system whereby office holders could elect to have their financial affairs audited by an inspector appointed by the Standards Commission at any time during their period in office and for a defined period thereafter as recommended by Moriarty.
Michael Smith’s complaint on Cllr Oisin Quinn is covered along with the Healy-Raes in Kerry and the Hogan\Gormley Poolbeg investigation. Arthur Spring was quite late with his tax clearance cert while Sipo is still awaiting clarification on Ciaran Cuffe’s use of Oireachtas facilities during the general election.
Neither Fine Gael or Labour disclosed any donations in 2011 and there were no Donation Statements from individual donors to any party. Last year was the lowest amount disclosed since the introduction of requirements 15 years ago, €30,997 in all though the CPI is yet to send a statement. However almost 400k was disclosed by individual politicians and parties received over twelve million in state funding which is not subject to income tax.
The report concludes with various recommendations from increased transparency and enforcement to sanctions for non-cooperation. Many unfortunately feature every year and are met with glacial action if any at all.