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Just How Corrupt Is Ireland?


The Underdog

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Having read Matt Coopers book recently, I began thinking about Ireland's level of corruption compared to the rest of the world. Are we the most corrupt in Western Europe? Could we even be more corrupt than Italy? In the areas of politics, finance and business, how do we compare?

I've found an article on Wikipedia regarding the "Corruption Perceptions Index" which is interesting as it has the UK as a more corrupt country that ours. I find this problematic as it obviously deals with perception, rather than objective evidence. Can corruption be objectively measured on a world basis, considering how corruption by nature is a crime that isn't necessarily visible as much as say, homicide?
You mentioned Italy - Well it’s said the mafia never came to Ireland because they knew they wouldn’t have a look in.

TASC website



It's pretty unprecedented for a western european police force to come out against their government as strongly as this :

We are angry at the arrogance of a government corrupted by years of power has lost touch with the reality of life on a modest salary; if they ever knew it at all. A government whose only agenda is to protect the economic traitors. . .

. . We are angry at being lectured by government on the need to be patriotic. A patriot is ‘a person who vigorously supports his country and its way of life.’ This government is misusing what it means to be Irish as they support a new aristocracy created in their image. This new aristocracy chooses whether to retain state pensions while still working as public representatives, using all means to spend vast resources on the few, while taking pay from the majority. This government have created a new class system; one that does not value our service and dedication. . .

. . .The government of which you are a long serving member has mismanaged the wealth of this country for more than a decade by allowing our assets to be plundered and robbed by bankers and speculators and you are making generations of Irish workers pay the price for this treachery. You did this because bankers and speculators have bought your party, and in return you have sacrificed the greater good and prosperity of the Irish Nation for the benefit of the few – the few who have now taken their ill-gotten gains and secured them in tax haven around the world. Truly, a government of national sabotage. .

. .You Minister came out fighting, saying you were going to arrest and jail the CEC, and forgetting that you hadn’t the power. Then you threatened to seize the assets of the GRA; believing your own frenzy you went on to threaten to arrest the printers and the postal workers. As we know none of this happened – except the issuing of the ballot. That GRA speech - Indymedia Ireland
 
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Green eyed monster

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Freedom of Information Laws covering nearly everything are the only standard that justifies even a 'light green' shade on that map (dark green would be serious, serious consequences for political malpractice as well, the darkest would have a highly competent media and an astute, politically intelligent electorate as well), our banking inquiry will be held in secret and there are other areas were there is no probity so maybe a yellow for us.

Then again no doubt you could argue the same about some of the other greens on it.
 

Tomas Mor

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Itg cannot be true that Britain is more corrupt than Ireland. If you are relying on Wiki for that it may be one of these Griffith College inserters who put it there ! How does one measure corruption. Apart from the bankers/builders/politicians trinithy we had here, does anyone think you will get a job unless you have the inside track, the phone call, nepotism, politicians interfering. This applie even in the mediawhere you family groupies, eg. the Harris clan, Fanning clan in Sindo, Gavin Reilly son of Sir AJ.
 

Clanrickard

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Are we the most corrupt in Western Europe? Could we even be more corrupt than Italy? In the areas of politics, finance and business, how do we compare?
I find this problematic as it obviously deals with perception, rather than objective evidence.
In the greater scheme of things Ireland is not very corrupt contrary to the rantings of some on here and in the media. That is not to say we are clean as a whistle but compared to other countries I have lived in like France, Slovakia, Italy and Poland we are far less corrupt.
 

Clanrickard

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does anyone think you will get a job unless you have the inside track, the phone call, nepotism, politicians interfering.
Ridiculous comment and totally untrue. I am sure it does happen but by and large private companies cannot afford nepotism and they need the best people they can get. The Irish public sector is far far more rigorous and impartial than many comparable organisations around the world.
 

Mister men

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Bertie,Charlie,O'Dea need i go on.
 

Aindriu

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That GRA speech was right on the nail. No wonder Dermot Aherne didn't want to hear it.
 

Fides

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Apart from planning the level of corruption here is pretty low key. As a citizen I have never had to "bribe" an official to get things done, in business I have never given nor never received any sort of bribe. I have worked in finance for two PLCs and never come across bribery and backhanders. HR recruitment policies are pretty strict. That's not to say we don't have some corruption here, I'm sure we do but it does not impinge on the average person. Are we better than Britain - they have had a few high profile scandals to do with arms deals so maybe that's what puts them up the scale.
 

LowIQ

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Apart from planning the level of corruption here is pretty low key. As a citizen I have never had to "bribe" an official to get things done, in business I have never given nor never received any sort of bribe. I have worked in finance for two PLCs and never come across bribery and backhanders. HR recruitment policies are pretty strict. That's not to say we don't have some corruption here, I'm sure we do but it does not impinge on the average person. Are we better than Britain - they have had a few high profile scandals to do with arms deals so maybe that's what puts them up the scale.
Ireland has taken the cute-hoor approach to tackling corruption. We have institutionalised it. Look at all the quangos, all the boards, all the jobs, all the offices space needed.
 

consultant

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Corruption is commonly perceived as the preserve of politicians and legislative/governing bodies. This certainly has been the case here.

Perhaps the assertion that Britain is more corrupt than here is an extrapolation of the numbers involved in these areas?

I would actually suggest that we are not a corrupt race per se. I have not heard of any guards being bribed not to give summonses recently. Rather, we have elected, appointed and tolerated political corruption for years and there are still people who will, come election time, give their No. 1s to members of the same clans and parties steeped in the practice. And proven incapable of governing as well.

More an incompetent electorate than a corrupt race.
 

Flynnster

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In answer to the original posters question I would say Ireland on the whole has a very low level of corruption however its at the highest level & involves massive amounts of money.

I have read Coopers book also and I found it very interesting. He did a good job shining a light on a lot of dodgy practises & more importantly people involved at the upper of echelons of Irish society. All told a good read about the boom/bust & the power players involved
 

flavirostris

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That wiki map makes no sense at all, it makes us look like Sweden
 

stanley

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Ireland has taken the cute-hoor approach to tackling corruption. We have institutionalised it. Look at all the quangos, all the boards, all the jobs, all the offices space needed.

+ 1, add in benchmarking (bribes for votes) and FF favourite - planning permission
 

LowIQ

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+ 1, add in benchmarking (bribes for votes) and FF favourite - planning permission
Yes, PP. We're completely above reproach there.
 

Disillusioned democrat

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In the greater scheme of things Ireland is not very corrupt contrary to the rantings of some on here and in the media. That is not to say we are clean as a whistle but compared to other countries I have lived in like France, Slovakia, Italy and Poland we are far less corrupt.
I don't think it's possible to compare corruption in Ireland to corruption in other countries, mainly because our "nod and wink" culture thrives on a pervasive low-level of corruption in everything we do. Since Roman times Ireland was recognised as a land where people believed in rules, but just thought they didn't apply to themselves. Our system of political appointments to boards of quangos and semi-states isn't corrupt per say, but when applied in the land of gombeens and cute hoors it quickly becomes tribal and venal.
Our inability to sanction Ministers and TDs for offences that would result in criminal prosecutions for the rest of us is again seen as the norm - so Willie O'Dea can lie under oath, Jim McDaid can drink off his head drunk and it's not clocked as corruption. Our previous Taoiseach can mumble his way through giving evidence about vast amounts of cash im multiple currencies washing through his accounts and gets away with saying he won it on a horse. Our certainty that the brother/mother/sister/father/friend of a Guard will be able to have penalty points dismissed isn't seen as corruption, just a perk of a thankless job....and so on and so forth. There's nothing Irish people like better than getting ahead of their peer group by pulling a stroke.
 

LDF

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I read this article last week and it fits perfectly into this discussion. It's an interview with Conor McEnrory - born in Wicklow, emigrated to London in the 1980's, got into banking, specialised in trouble-shooting at broken banks particularly in South America. He now own's his own bank in Paraguay and hopes to expand throughout the Continent.

In one section of the interview he defends South America saying the widely held perception of endemic corruption on the Continent was unfair and he says of Ireland "anytime I got off the plane at Dublin Airport I could smell the corruption in the air".


Wicklow man on a mission finds success in Paraguay's banking industry - The Irish Times - Fri, May 21, 2010

Now, that's just one man's opinion but I think there is a lot of truth in what he says.
 

farnaby

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Apart from planning the level of corruption here is pretty low key. As a citizen I have never had to "bribe" an official to get things done, in business I have never given nor never received any sort of bribe. I have worked in finance for two PLCs and never come across bribery and backhanders. HR recruitment policies are pretty strict. That's not to say we don't have some corruption here, I'm sure we do but it does not impinge on the average person. Are we better than Britain - they have had a few high profile scandals to do with arms deals so maybe that's what puts them up the scale.
Good post.

The vast majority of us are honest but we're all too willing to turn a blind eye to the charming cute hoor. Knowing someone who will get something done for you cheaper/quicker than others is a strong element of the (self-)esteem in which people are held here.

One answer to the thread title is: enough to make us depressed, not enough to make us angry.
 

truepatriot

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Ireland is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Tom gilmartin said that the mafia were monks in comparison to f.f. I know of a situation with an extended family who supported a local t.d, they received millions from the state purse. Just look at the tribunals. Bertie, c.j, lawlor, burke, the flynnstones, all these so-called patriots were found out. They all wanted handy money by whatever means. The g.r.a. Were spot on and fair play to them. Not a word out of the justice minister since.
 

ibis

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That wiki map makes no sense at all, it makes us look like Sweden
In this case, Wikipedia is just using another organisation's map - that of Transparency International, who have been at this a long time, and are reputable.

The reason it's reported as a Corruption Perception Index is because it measures how much corruption impacts on daily lives - how often you're faced with a request for a bribe, how often you find you have to resort to the use of influence to get something that should be yours anyway, whether you have to schmooze, bribe, or influence to get government contracts, and so on.

Measured in those terms Ireland is extremely clean - you can spend years in business or employment here without ever using influence or bribes or seeing anyone else do so at the level of daily life. People grumble about the public service being slow, but you can't walk into the Passport Office with a little extra above your fee and jump the queue. If a Garda stops you for driving drunk, a little bit of folding stuff won't sort the matter out, and reference to your influential friends will likely make things worse, not better. People may believe their TD "gets things" for them, but 99 times out of a hundred all the TD does is get them what they could have got themselves with a little more patience and intelligence.

At the top level, yes, there's a golden circle, just as there is in every country, because there's a relatively much smaller number of senior and influential positions, and everybody gets to know each other. You'll find the same thing in any relatively small profession or industry - there's a circle of people at the top of Irish botany, for example, but nobody cares about that. And yes, the political parties look after their supporters, and make sure that legislation is friendly for those industries that are supportive of them - but that's what you might call "transparent corruption". You vote for FF, you know that FF will favour the builders - vote for Labour, you know that Labour will favour the Unions. We also know Ministers will try to steer grants towards their constituencies.

And then there's planning - but even there, it's not something that affects the ordinary member of the public directly. You apply for planning permissions, and by and large you'll get it according to the rules, or not. The corruption comes largely in the original zoning - and zoning corruption, plus corrupt permission for large projects, constitutes almost the whole of Irish corruption. Unfortunately, the results of planning corruption affect the whole of Irish life, because they breed waste, dysfunctional public services, impossible public transport problems, grotesque commuting times, overloaded schools - the list goes on, and the results are of such high visibility as to give the inaccurate impression of pervasive corruption throughout Irish life.
 
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