Ireland seen as being among the top 10 least corrupt countries worldwide, new data shows
Ireland scored a better position than the UK in an annual corruption index for the first time in 25 years.
Ireland is seen as being the tenth least corrupt country in the world, according to the latest Corruption Perceptions Index.
Published annually by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International (TI), the index ranks 180 countries and territories by their "perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople".
"It relies on 13 independent data sources and uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean," Transparency International said.
In its latest index, Ireland landed in joint tenth position with Luxembourg, with the two countries receiving a score of 77.
This is a rise for Ireland, which ranked 13th last year with 74.
Topping the latest index, meanwhile, was Denmark with a score of 90, while in joint second place with 87 were Finland and New Zealand.
Also, the UK ranked 18th with a score of 73 as Somalia found itself at the bottom of the list with a score of 12.
Appearing on Newstalk Breakfast to discuss the latest index was TI Ireland's Chief Executive John Devitt.
He told the programme:
"Our performance on the index has improved since 2012 gradually but this is the first year that we've noticed a significant jump or improvement in our performance year on year.
"It's the first time we've finished above the UK in 25 years and the first time ever that we've finished ahead of Canada and Australia.
"I think that's in large part because of the absence of a major controversy that's attracted international attention, unlike 98/99 when Ireland suffered a sharp drop in our score.
"We haven't seen the kind of coverage of, or revelations of, corruption rather that the tribunals exposed.
"The Mahon Tribunal concluded that corruption was systemic in local government and politics back in the '80s and '90s."
Devitt pointed out that while Ireland has had its "fair share" of controversies recently, "they're not at the same level that they were back in the late 1990s and are certainly not attracting the same kind of attention that events in Westminster and Whitehall have received recently".
Despite the good news, the chief executive warned that corruption is "something that every country encounters".
"No country on the index, even those at the very top including Denmark, are free of corruption," he explained.
"We need to take a risk-based approach to tackling the problem by reforming the way in which, in Ireland in particular, reforming the way in which our public officials disclose information and share it with the Standards in Public Office Commission.
"Currently that system is outdated. Our ethics laws haven't been reformed in over 20 years."
You can see the full version of the latest Corruption Perceptions Index right here.
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