Social Democrats Call on Government to Set Up Anti- Corruption Agency

December 7, 2015

This Week, Social Democrats TD’s Róisín Shortall, Catherine Murphy and Stephen Donnelly will bring the Social Democrats proposals for an Anti- Corruption Agency before the house.

Below is our proposal and the document in full:


“That Dáil Eireann:

recognises that corruption in public and commercial life represents a great threat to the democratic functioning of the State;

finds that culturally-ingrained concepts of patronage, clientelism and favouritism have pervaded political institutions and have led to serious failures in corporate governance, particularly where inappropriate links between business and politics have been exploited;

concludes that such failings have eroded public confidence that politics and commerce operate to benefit the many over the few;

notes that Bunreacht na hÉireann places in the care of the Oireachtas a responsibility to ensure that the operation of free competition shall not be allowed to develop as to result in the concentration of the ownership or control of essential commodities in a few individuals to the common detriment; and that the Oireachtas has failed to adhere to this guidance in recent years;

recognises that the State has no effective means of preventing, investigating or prosecuting corruption or white-collar crime as responsible agencies are too disconnected, lack appropriate powers, or lack necessary resources;

further notes:

— that prosecutions arising from cases of proven corruption have been rare;

— the failure of the Government to adequately act on the findings of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments (Mahon Tribunal) nor the Tribunal of Inquiry into Payments to Politicians and Related Matters (Moriarty Tribunal);

— that there have been eight tribunals of inquiry in the past twenty years, and where they made findings of impropriety in public or commercial life, very few consequences, if any, have arisen; and

— that five commissions of investigation are currently in operation, and that in some cases, commissions have sought additional powers to ensure they can fulfil their terms of reference; and

recommends, in order to effectively address these matters, that the Government:

— establish a permanent, independent Anti-Corruption Agency to, initially, assume the functions of the Standards in Public Office Commission; the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement; the Registrar of Lobbyists and the Competition Authority, but not confined to these bodies;

— mandate the Anti-Corruption Agency to act as a Standing Commission of Investigation;

— confer the Anti-Corruption Agency with powers of:

— investigation;

— compellability and testimony-taking;

— court-authorised search and seizure, including access to bank records;

— prosecution at District and Circuit Court level only; and

— arrest;

— empower the Anti-Corruption Agency to initiate and conduct investigations and sectoral reviews of its own volition;

— consolidate and reform legislation tackling corruption, official malfeasance and white-collar crime, and place the Anti-Corruption Agency at the apex of the State’s legislative architecture countering corruption;

— confer the Anti-Corruption Agency with a monitoring and investigative role over public procurement activities, both ongoing and historic;

— mandate an advisory role, initially upon the Anti-Corruption Agency in relation to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission; the Comptroller and Auditor General; the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces; the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation; professional bodies and any future Electoral Commission, but not confined to these bodies;

— draw on the experience in other jurisdictions in establishing an Anti-Corruption Agency, in particular the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) of Victoria, Australia, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom, and the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption;

— create a new joint Oireachtas oversight committee, to be called the Public Interest Committee, a majority of whom shall be Opposition members; and

— establish annual reporting by the Anti-Corruption Agency to both Houses of the Oireachtas, and ensure reports are debated in both Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann.” — Catherine Murphy, Stephen S. Donnelly, Róisín Shortall.

[4 December, 2015]

You can read the proposals in full here:

Corruption Document